The Nigerian government has revealed that the planned national population and housing census may be postponed due to funding and other logistical challenges. The National Population Commission is said to be struggling to raise the required funds, prompting concerns about the feasibility of the census which was scheduled to commence in twelve days.
According to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, a total of N869bn ($1.88bn) was needed for the census, out of which the government had committed N291.5bn ($632m) and an additional N327.2bn ($709.9m) was required to complete the census. He noted that the census was originally scheduled for last year but was rescheduled for March 2023 and later recommended to hold in May.
Agba further explained that the basket fund would be managed by the United Nations Population Fund, which is providing the NPC with technical and financial support. He urged members of the private sector to donate cash or offer to buy some of the materials needed for the census.
The census, which was last conducted in 2006, has been shifted twice under the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari, raising concerns about the effectiveness of the government’s planning and execution. It is noteworthy that the previous administration in 2014 proposed a census for 2016, but was unable to accomplish it before exiting in 2015.
While it is important for governments to conduct accurate and up-to-date censuses for effective planning and resource allocation, it is crucial that adequate preparations and funding are made to ensure the success of such an exercise. The Nigerian government must, therefore, address the funding and logistical challenges facing the census to avoid further delays and ensure that it is conducted in a timely and effective manner.
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