The Chairman of the National Population Census (NPC), Nasir Kwarra, has appealed for the release of an additional N256 billion to cover training and preparatory activities for the upcoming 2023 Population and Housing Census. Kwarra made this request during a briefing with President Bola Tinubu at the State House in Abuja.
In his presentation titled “Implementation Status of the 2023 Population and Housing Census,” Kwarra outlined the need for the allocated N31 billion capital allocation from the 2023 budget to kickstart preparatory activities. Additionally, he sought President Tinubu’s approval for an extra N225.2 billion, which would be utilized for training and fieldwork allowances, retraining of trainers, and the conduct of a second-class Trial Census.
The total estimated cost of the census, as per the NPC’s methodology review, stands at N546.72 billion. Kwarra emphasized the importance of securing sufficient funding to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the census data, which would be instrumental for national planning, infrastructure development, and revenue generation.
The NPC Chairman informed President Tinubu that the Commission had already trained 60,000 instructors who would further train enumerators and supervisors. However, the transition program for the new government and financial challenges led to disruptions in the final training phase, resulting in the postponement of the census by the previous administration under President Muhammadu Buhari.
To address the funding challenges, Kwarra sought the President’s support and approval for the conduct of the census. He also proposed convening a stakeholders’ meeting with the organized private sector and foreign partners to mobilize funds for the census.
Highlighting the progress made so far, Kwarra mentioned that the NPC had successfully demarcated the entire country, with only one or two locations remaining. The completion of this task is expected shortly.
The NPC’s efforts in developing a comprehensive database for national planning, infrastructure development, and government revenue generation were commended. Kwarra informed President Tinubu that the Commission had already generated over N5 million through REMITA by making geospatial data available to researchers at a “test price.” With fully integrated spatial and statistical data, the NPC aims to automate economic planning by 2028, potentially generating up to $14 billion and saving substantial resources for the nation.
The request for additional funding and support from President Tinubu reflects the significance of conducting an accurate and reliable population census, which will provide crucial insights for Nigeria’s future development and policymaking. The NPC’s commitment to data integrity and its appeal for financial assistance underscore the importance of a comprehensive and well-executed census exercise.
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