The National Population Commission (NPC), has announced that the 2023 national population and housing census implementation which was earlier postponed by the former administration, will now be set to a new date by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Speaking to reporters on Thursday following a meeting between the commission and the president, Nasir Kwarra, Chairman of the NPC, said the commission had submitted its report to the president for evaluation and decision for a later date.
Kwarra went on to explain that the president was thoroughly informed on the commission’s degree of readiness, the foresee outcomes, and the president has cordially acknowledged his support to the commission in the preparatory operations to conduct the census, providing a driving force to boost the preparation. He also confirmed the concerns of certain NPC commissioners that the funds (N100 billion out of the N200 billion) allocated to the commission could be wasted if the exercise is not held as soon as possible.
2023 population census would involve conducting CAPI.
Given the circumstances, he stated that the president has also been properly briefed and that the commission may have to spend additional costs if the implementation of the census is delayed for longer than required. He emphasized that while the cost of conducting a digital census would be significant, this will serve as a foundational census. The purpose of the census is to collect up-to-date data that can be used to propel national development goals and raise living standards for all Nigerians.
Future census will merely need to be updated and reduce costs because the commission will have already built a framework. More advancements in ICT will allow for the implementation of even more cost-reducing approaches as time moves on. The 2023 census would involve visiting each and every household in the country to conduct what are called Computer-Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI). As technology advances, we should see an increase in digital web, online questionnaires and among others.
NPC is making efforts to bolster critical preparations for the census.
Upon completion of the census, the NPC Chairman claims that the resources obtained during the census would yield pay back value greater than the running cost of N200 billion, and that this will eventually lead to surpluses in the governments pocket. In response to a question about why the government would spend so huge on the commission, which does not actually generate revenues, he explained that geospatial data that will be obtained in the process would generate revenue for the government. He elaborated, saying that it involved more than just data scanning.
This latest announcement indicates that the effective execution of the 2023 Population and Housing Census goals are still on track. It is also evident that the Commission is making every effort to maintain and bolster the preparations critical to the smooth execution of the 2023 first ever digital census. The Commission was concerned not only with meeting the immediate requirements of delivering the next census, but also with setting a firm groundwork for future census.
Significant steps taken towards implementation of the census.
All preparations for a successful implementation of the population and housing census had already been made by the commission before it was earlier postponed months ago. Significant steps taken towards full implementation of the 2023 digital census includes the finalization of the country’s Enumeration Area Demarcation, the execution of the first and second pretests, the hiring and training of ad-hoc staffs, and the procurement of Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructures.