2023 Population and Housing Census is described as a Green Census involving the use of digital maps, digital questionnaire and cloud computing to ensure compliance with the global climate change campaign for reduction of emission by 30% unconditionally and an additional 15% conditionally by the year 2030. This was made known by Dr. (Mrs) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, the Hon. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, at the High Level Partners Engagement to seek support for the conduct of the 2023 population and housing census today in Abuja.
According to her, “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 population for alignment of public policy and investment decisions, as required.”
“Almost two decades on, it has become imperative and urgent for Nigeria to conduct another Census as clearly spelt out in the National Development Plan 2021 – 2025. As prioritised by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the National Population Commission in close collaboration with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have set-up the machinery for a National Census that will reflect our population dynamics.”
Mrs Zainab noted that Nigerian Government envisage 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.
Adding that it is necessary to address the inconsistency in the National Census and statistical system which limits the efficacy of development initiatives premised on obsolete data cannot be over – emphasized. The major challenge over the years had been the lack and/or inadequate funds to readily carry out such huge project in the face of pressing needs for social welfare and human capital development. It is worthy to note that 60 per cent of the funding and other requirements for the 2006 Census could not have been achieved without the invaluable support of the Development Partners, Corporate Bodies and other key Stakeholders.
She maintained that the partnership and collaboration in carrying out the 2006 National Census took a lot of burden off the Government of Nigeria and enabled us to conduct a credible exercise whose outcome, served through the years. The data from the exercise has been useful in preparing our National Development Plans, implementation of Sectoral Plans and Initiatives, tracking follow-up actions for Global Conventions and Agreements, including the unfinished Agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), the Nairobi Commitments, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the Revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development among others.”
In his contribution, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, the Honourable Minister of State Budget and National Planning, said that the last census in Nigeria was conducted in 2006. In 2014 the previous government proposed another census for 2016 in line with the United Nations recommendation for decennial census. The administration ended up in 2015 without accomplishing the wish.
From 2015-2016 the country slipped into a recession due to crash in oil sales and production.
He stressed that in 2018-2019 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 his words: ”This is a digital, green and transformative Census that meets international best practices. Some of the activities have been undertaken as scheduled including the conduct of a Trial Census. Government has demonstrated high level of financial and political commitment to the Census project in spite of the election cost and activities. UNFPA is providing significant technical and financial support to the Census programme. A Basket Fund managed by the UNFPA will be established for the redemption of pledges.”