Why 2018 census may not hold, by NPC chairman

Chief Eze Duruiheoma,

Chief Eze Duruiheoma,

Due to poor funding, the 2018 national census may not hold, the National Population Commission (NPC) has said.

The NPC’s proposed funding requirements for the exercise amount to N222 billion: pre-census activities, N94 billion; census proper, N120 billion; and post-census activities N8 billion. The agency said the Federal Government must begin now to release the funds in installments to enable it to commence preparation.

The Chairman of the commission, Eze Duruiheoma stated this yesterday, when members of the Senate Committee on National Identity cards and National Population Commission visited the temporary headquarters of the NPC in Abuja

Out of the N4.411 billion appropriated for the agency for capital expenditure in the 2006 Appropriation Act, only N2.17 billion has been released till date.

Apart from inadequate funding, he listed the absence of proclamation for the holding of the census in 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari, non-completion of NPC’s permanent headquarters and lack of legislation for periodic conduct of census, among others, as setbacks for the preparation.

It was learnt that the cost of constructing the permanent headquarters of the commission (which started in 2006) within 18 months was N2.3 billion. But due to delays in release of funds, the variation cost for completing it will now gulp an additional N1.7 billion.

Duruiheoma solicited the assistance of the committee to ensure the required legislations for the next census are passed.

He said the commission would specifically require the support of the Senate committee in ensuring that periodic conduct of population census in Nigeria is included in the 1999 Constitution.

The NPC boss indicated that the commission would be convening a national summit in the first quarter of 2017 to deepen national understanding for the conduct of the census and to generate the support of the stakeholders.

The Senate Committee Chairman, Suleiman Hunkuyi assured the NPC that it would collaborate with it to ensure that its functions are carried out.

Hunkuyi urged the commission to commercialise some of its data, as source of revenue generation to augment what comes from budgetary allocations, arguing that issuance of birth certificates should not be free. This, however, is in contravention of the NPC Act, which made issuance of birth certificates to individuals free.

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