Members of the House of Representatives have voted to concur with the Senate to conduct the National Population and Housing Census (NPHC) beginning October of this year.
The census, which is the first digital census, will be conducted across the country from October 24 to November 7, 2022.
The House voted for the concurrence during its 8th Special Sitting, held on September 6. About 25 lawmakers voted for the decision, while six were againstit and one abstained.
Tuesday’s action by the House will precipitate the solicitation of signatures on the Joint Resolution, of which two-thirds of total House membership (49 representatives), is required.
The House’s concurrence was triggered by a report from the Joint Committee on Good Governance and Government Reform, Elections and Inauguration and Judiciary.
The Joint Committee’s report, spearheaded by the committee on Good Governance and Government Reform, recommended that the House of Representatives concur with the Senate on the setting of the new date for the Census.
However, the Joint Committee recommended that the Plenary of the House should call on the Chairman of the Board of Directors of LISGIS, Samuel Tweah to make some interventions.
“The Plenary calls on the Chairman of the Board of Directors of LISGIS, Tweah, to promptly address the leadership crisis at LISGIS since such could have deleterious impact on the smooth running of census activities and the current (alleged) corruption saga at LISGIS, which has resulted into the Indictment of four key members of its leadership."
"This needs to be urgently addressed through relevant legal means, so that the same cannot have a spill-over effect over the nation as a whole," the report noted.
Meanwhile, after the vote of concurrence, a motion for reconsideration was proffered by Maryland County District #1 Representative, P. Mike Jurry, and accepted by the Acting Speaker and presiding officer, Rep. Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa.
The motion for reconsideration is expected to be tried on Thursday, or could be withdrawn.
It may be recalled that President George M. Weah, recalled the 54th Legislature for a Special Sitting, to set a new date for the Census and act on other priority instruments.
The President implored both Houses that the Census be held in October as per advice from Census Steering Committee (International Community/Donors), that everything is on course to conduct the 2022 census in October 2022.
The President said substantial financial resources for the Census have been appropriated, whereas the geographical mapping has been completed; pilot Census has been conducted with results informing the preparation of the actual census, among others.
“This census will be the fifth National Census, but the first digital census. The census is expected to provide significant information for development planning. With these achievements, further postponement of the census from October 2022 would have far reaching consequences for the Census Project,” the President indicated.
The successive postponements, according to LISGIS, were due to lack of funds to conduct the national headcount exercise. And now that significant preparations have been made for the census to be conducted in October 2022, the President urged the Legislature to charge forward with the date, stressing that further postponement would cost more money.
Weah stated that postponement of the census from October 2022 to November 2022 will create an added staff cost of US$139,000; Din December 2022, is a staff cost of US$278,000; and in March 2023, a staff cost of US$695,000.
The President furthered that, through a south-south cooperation, the Government of Ghana loaned the Government of Liberia 21,000 electronic data collection tablets and accessories, which are to be returned at the end of October 2022.
“If the census is not [conducted] in October 2022, these devices will be returned and the Government of Liberia will have to purchase its own electronic tablets at a cost of US$5,355,000. Also, financial commitment by donors may not be fulfilled if the census is not conducted in October 2022,” the President noted.