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FG SEEKS DONORS FUNDING FOR 2023 CENSUS

March 5, 2023

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The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, has disclosed that the Federal Government plans to establish a basket fund to collect donations for the 2023 Population and Housing Census.

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The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, has disclosed that the Federal Government plans to establish a basket fund to collect donations for the 2023 Population and Housing Census.

He made this disclosure at a high-level partner engagement to seek support for the 2023 Census in Abuja.

Agba noted that a total of N869bn is needed for the census, adding that the government committed N291,5bn with the need for an additional N327.2bn.

He 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 percent of total funding for the census. An additional (immediate) sum of N327.2bn ($709.9m) is required to complete the census.”

Agba further disclosed that the census exercise was to be conducted last year but rescheduled for March 2023, but there is a recommendation that it should be held in May 2023.

He said, “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 a recession due to a 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 is 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.”

He added that the basket fund will be managed by the United Nations Population Fund, which is also providing the National Population Commission with technical and financial support.

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

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed speaking virtually during the meeting stated that with the support of all stakeholders, Nigeria is going to conduct a free, credible and acceptable census as it recommends the census to hold in May this year.

She said FG envisages a credible census exercise with the use of digital technology, adding that the 2023 Census will be involving the use of digital maps.

“We look forward to a census that employs extensive use of digital technology for credible, reliable, and acceptable outcomes; and provides accurate and well-disaggregated data for strategic planning and policy-making.

“I am pleased to intimate you that the 2023 Population and Housing Census will be a Green Census involving the use of digital maps, digital questionnaires and cloud computing to ensure compliance with the global climate change campaign for the reduction of emissions by 30 percent unconditionally and an additional 15 percent conditionally by the year 2030.

This Month marks exactly 17 years since the last National Census was conducted in Nigeria in 2006. By the United Nations standard, Population and Housing Censuses ought to be conducted every 10 years. The set period allows the Government to correctly capture changes in the population, age structure and movement of the population for alignment of public policy and investment decisions, as required.

“Our major challenge over the years has been the lack and/or inadequate funds to readily carry out such a huge project in the face of pressing needs for social welfare and human capital development.”

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Mathias Schmale assured that United Nations Country Team in Nigeria will continue to support the development efforts of the country, including the implementation of this transformative census.

“Collectively we cannot fail the citizens of this country and must make our respective contributions to making a credible 2023 Census happen”, he said

While making his remarks, the Resident Representative, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mr. Ari Aisen noted that good census data is essential for good diagnostic of societal problems which leads to a better policy for the development of the country.

He further added that the census is expensive and requires the support of all stakeholders to ensure a successful exercise.

The Resident Representative, UNFPA, Ms. Ulla Mueller, stressed the need for the census to avoid the regular guess on the current population of the country.

She added that financial support from the UNFPA may be around $10m alongside the technical support that would be provided.

Speaking on behalf of Organised Private Sector and African Philanthropic Organisations, the Chairman, Heirs Holdings Group and Founder, of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Chief Tony Elumelu, also noted the need for the census for the country’s development and growth.

He said, “For me, this task is critical to our country’s future – if we do not know our population, we cannot properly plot our developmental path, our economic growth, our society’s goals. Credible demographic data is of profound importance for the public and private sectors alike. We all know we live in a data-driven world.

“As a private sector leader with investments in key sectors of the Nigerian economy through the Heirs Holdings Group, Transcorp Group, United Bank for Africa Group, and with the work we do at the Tony Elumelu Foundation in empowering thousands of young entrepreneurs and building the entrepreneurial capacity on the continent, I understand first-hand, the value and importance of available, accessible and accurate data in making informed decisions, driving development, and creating opportunities.

“The upcoming census is a significant milestone in Nigeria’s development, as it provides an opportunity to collect accurate and reliable data on the country’s population and housing, which will serve as a vital tool for policymakers, private sector actors, and civil society organisations.

Dr. Abdulateef Shittu representing the Director-General of Nigeria Governors Forum, Asishana Okauru acknowledged that there is a sizable resourcing gap that needs to be bridged to get the census across the finishing line and pledged the support of Nigeria Governors Forum to ensure the successful conduct of the 2023 Census.

Speaking also, the Chairman of National Population Commission, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra commended President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR for approving the conduct of the 2023 Population and Housing Census despite all the pressing challenges and also his unwavering support to the Commission.

NPC boss also appreciated the donor partners for joining hands with the Nigeria Government and National Population Commission in particular in realizing the dream of providing the needed demographic data that will place our country on the pedestal of sustainable development.

He further assured Nigerians and the global community that funds given to the Commission will be judiciously managed transparently.

Meanwhile, the donor conference is a standard practice to mobilize resources for the successful conduct of the census exercise.

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