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2023 Census Risks Another Postponement Over Lack Of Funds




2023 Census: It Doesn’t Make Sense – Obi-Datti PCC Member Slams NPC Over Latest Update

There are strong indications that the national population and housing census might once again be postponed.

Naija News learnt gathered as uncertainties continue to trail the planning of the exercise, which is slated for May 3 to 5.

It was gathered that the National Population Commission (NPC) might again postpone the census as it struggled to raise the required funds for logistics and other preparations.

It would be recalled the exercise, which was supposed to hold in March was shifted to May and now indications ate that it might be shifted again.

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, had in March disclosed that the Federal Government planned to establish a basket fund to collect donations for the 2023 population and housing census.

This is because out of a total of N869 billion proposed by the commission,  the government committed N291.5 billion to it with the need for an additional N327.2 billion.

The minister was quoted to have said “The total requirement for the census (including post-census activities) is N869bn ($1.88bn): census requirement – N626bn ($1.36bn), which is about $6 per capita (just slightly above the threshold of up to $5 per capita); post-census (up to 2025) is N243bn ($527m).

“So far, the government has committed N291.5bn ($632m) to the census, making it 46 per cent of the total funding for the census. An additional (immediate) sum of N327.2bn ($709.9m) is required to complete the census.

“The last census in Nigeria was conducted in 2006. In 2014, the previous government proposed another census for 2016 in line with the UN recommendation for the decennial census.

“That administration, however, exited in 2015 without accomplishing the wish. From 2015 to 2016, the country slipped into recession due to the crash in oil prices and production.

“That administration, however, exited in 2015 without accomplishing the wish. From 2015 to 2016, the country slipped into recession due to the crash in oil prices and production.

“In 2018/2019, the government recommitted to the conduct of the census. In 2020, COVID-19 disrupted plans for the exercise. The census was rescheduled for March 2023, but now recommended to hold in May 2023. In 2021/2022, funds were appropriated for the census. The census was initially planned for 2022, but was moved to 2023 after the elections.”

The minister, therefore, urged members of the private sector to either donate cash or offer to buy some of the materials needed for the census.

However, speculations are that due to a lack of funds the 2023 census might be shifted by another week or two.

This online platform learnt from The Punch on Friday that training slated for the exercise was cancelled earlier this week and no new date had been fixed for the training of ad hoc workers at the local government level as the earlier scheduled programme was postponed last week.

Also, last week Tuesday, about 467 ad hoc staff members of the NPC in Bauchi State took to the streets to protest their alleged unpaid allowances.,

Meanwhile, this platform understands that the NPC Chairman, Nasir Kwarra, and the top management of the commission were reviewing the situation and might advise the President Muhammadu Buhari on the likely postponement of the census after the Sallah holidays.

The decision on whether to go ahead or postpone the census is expected the mid-next week after Buhari’s approval.

However, it was gathered that any likely postponement might be for one or two weeks as the President sees the conduct of the census as one of his regime’s legacy projects and would want it done before he exits power on May 29.