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NPC CLARIFIES N200 BILLION SPENT ON PREPARATIONS FOR 2023 CENSUS

June 16, 2023

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The National Population Commission (NPC) has given clarifications on how N200 billion was expended on its preparatory activities for the conduct of the postponed 2023 Population and Housing Census.

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The National Population Commission (NPC) has given clarifications on how N200 billion was expended on its preparatory activities for the conduct of the postponed 2023 Population and Housing Census.

Di­rector, Public Affairs Department in NPC, Dr. Isiaka Yahaya, at a media briefing in Abuja, justified the amount already spent in preparing the 2023 Census.

Yahaya explained that the said N200 billion spanned a long period of time when the preparations for the Census started in 2014.

It would be recalled that the Chairman of the National Pop­ulation Commission, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, had at a breakfast meet­ing with Media Executives on 18th May 2023 in Abuja disclosed that the sum of N200 billion had been spent so far on preparations for the 2023 Census.

This expenditure has generated some controversies, as some public analysts have called for a probe of the NPC.

Giving clarifications and jus­tifications on how the funds were spent, Yahaya explained that the funds released were deployed in various activities with resounding results.

He said: “It has, therefore, be­come necessary to set the records straight and put into proper con­text the expenditure of 200 Billion Naira by the National Population Commission in preparation for the 2023 Census.

“In a country struggling with an acute infrastructural deficit, this massive undertaking cannot come cheap but at a huge cost.

“Yes, it is true that N200 billion has been spent on preparations for the 2023 Census so far.

“However, this fund was not expended in the last few weeks, months, or years but since 2014 when preparations for the 2023 Census began.

“Indeed, part of the N200 bil­lion was expended before the coming of the present Commis­sion, which was inaugurated twice between 2018 and 2020 and even before the inception of the Buhari Administration.”

Commenting on the activi­ties that have been carried out by the Commission in prepara­tion for the Census, the Director of Public Affairs, said “The first preparatory activity for the 2023 Population and Housing Cen­sus was the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) which the Commission implemented in phases on an incremental basis spanning over a period of 8 years.

“The EAD involved the division of the 774 Local Government Areas of the country into Enu­meration Areas. The Enumera­tion Area Demarcation was done digitally from 2014 to 2022.

“Given the size of Nigeria, carrying out such expansive field operations must of necessity come with a huge cost. Major cost ele­ments in the EAD project include the acquisition of high-resolu­tion satellite imageries of the entire land space of Nigeria and equip­ment, deployment of logistics across the country and training and deployment of tens of thou­sands of ad-hoc workers for sev­eral months to carry out the field operations. All of these were paid for, and heavily too.

“Another major cost element of the 2023 Census is the series of test runs carried out by the Commission to determine the appropriateness or otherwise of the methodology, processes and systems being put in place for the exercise.

“The Commission carried out an elaborate consultative process in designing a census questionnaire that responded to the coun­try’s data needs for sustainable development.

“Series of workshops involving the academia, professional bodies, Civil Society Organiza­tions and stakeholders were organized at the national and state levels between 2015 and 2017.

“The first Pretest was conduct­ed between 31st May, 2021 and 13th June, 2021 in the thirty-six states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory while the second Pretest with larger coverage and broader objectives was conducted from November 24th to December 10th 2021 also in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“The Commission had trained about 62,000 facilitators across the country who will in turn train about 850,000 Supervisors and Enumerators for the Census exercise.

“The cost element in the cen­sus trainings include payment of training allowances of not less than N12,000 per day to each facilitator for two weeks, trans­port allowance, hiring of venues, refreshment, procurement of materials and logistics for the field.”

However, efforts to get the breakdown of the cost of these items procured were not success­ful, as Yahaya insisted that “The items for which the sum of N200 billion was expended are avail­able, verifiable and remain useful for the next census anytime it is to be conducted.”

According to him, “The implementation of the Census project is being carried out in a professional and transparent manner; therefore, the Commission is open to inquiry and is ready to offer clarifications, if the need arises.”

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