By: Anthony Q. Jiffan, Jr.
The Government of Liberia has allotted US$ 3milliion into the budget of fiscal year 2018/2019 to cover the overdue National Population and Housing Census. The National Population and Housing Census by law is to be held in every 10 years, and was scheduled for 2018 since it was last held in 2008.
This was disclosed by the Deputy Director General for Statistics and Data Processing at the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), Alex Williams at the regular press briefing Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) Thursday, March 7, 2019 in Monrovia.
The LISGIS deputy director general said the cost of the Census is about US$19, 377, 838.31, noting that government has already secured an allotment of three million United States dollars in the budget for Fiscal Year 2018/2019.
Deputy Director General Williams disclosed that although the last census for Liberia was conducted in 2008 which depicts that the next Housing and Population Census was due in 2018, the 2017 elections coupled with transitional preparations led to the shift in the conduct of the census.
The Census, Deputy Director General Williams said which was sanctioned by the National Legislature through a joint resolution passed in 2018 to extend the holding of the census over to the period as indicated, and ordering a new date for this national undertaken.
He indicated that in observance of the rule of law and pursuant to chapter 5, Article 39 of the 1986 Liberian constitution, that legislature shall cause a census of the Republic to be undertaken every ten years.
Although the ensuing 2019 National Population and Housing Census has been lagged by a year, Deputy Director General Williams said the exercise is yet in line with the United Nations 2020 rounds of the world’s population censuses.
He said, “Similarly, the statistical Act (LISGIS Act) in section 50.A.2 created the office of Director-General who is the statistician-in-chief and assisted by three Deputy Directors General will lead the census process”.
According to him, the NHPC hopes to achieve data concerning the shift in population, establishment of new boundaries, the evolution of new communities, construction of new social amenities and structural dispersion tracking migration flows (particularly internal migration).
Other data that exercise hopes to gather are population push and pull factors, apportioning or realigning electoral districts as per population, adequate labeling of structures with exact coordinates (GPS), evidence-based decisions for development targeting population, etc.
For these, the 2019 census is cardinal as they set the stage for these and many more for the developmental goals of our country.
These also involve preparation of the Census project document, including final budget of US$19,323,254.33 which has been shared with partners for their buying-in, noting that there are positive indications of their support.
He said an aptitude test has been administered across the country to recruit mapping assistants for the geographic planning exercise as Pre-Census activities. Those qualified and selected will be trained for a period of one month and later deployed for a period eight to nine months across the country.
Mr. Williams furthered that the initial procurement of pre-parked census materials for the field mapping exercise has been contracted to a local firm known as M-TOSH Print Media.
LISGIS has been engaging census partners including UNFPA, World Bank, Swedish government amongst others to secure the procurement of vehicles and other logistics, he added.