The Government of Liberia (GoL), through the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, officially signed a document for the 2021 National Population and Housing Census (NPHC) Project.
LISGIS Director Francis Fonanyeneh Wreh said that the document for the Project will be the first census in the country to use digital technology at all phases of preparation, geographic planning, census-taking, data management, processing as well as tabulation, publication, archiving and dissemination.
According to him, the pending census, which costs US$18.9 million, has experienced some significant delays due to “untimely and inadequate funding.”
“This is one major reason why the international ten-year periodicity of census-taking, as enshrined in the United Nations principles and Recommendations, was slightly exceeded; notwithstanding, we are still operating within the 2020 Round of Population and Housing Censuses (2015-2024),” he said.
“LISGIS, in collaboration with and support from UNFPA, has developed the Census Project document, which will serve as a source for support and resource mobilization for all processes of the 2021 Census undertaking.”
He said that the estimated cost of the 2021 exercise is US$18.9 million, and has, therefore, appealed to the country’s development partners to support the project by making available tools for development policy-making, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development programming.
UNFPA Resident Representative, Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, described yesterday’s signing ceremony as a defining moment that signals the official start of the census program.
UNFPA, as part of the UN country team in Liberia, has realigned its development assistance with the government’s development plan in a period of peace and security consolidation, as well as strengthening democratic governance towards attaining sustainable development.
Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel Tweah, said that the government budgeted US$6 million for the census process, but currently has US$3 million, adding that the government is working to get the balance money.
Tweah described the census exercise as “critical for national development, and therefore the government needs to empower LISGIS to have an updated data in the interest of the country.”
He added: “The government is grateful to achieve such a milestone, by signing the project, though it is belated; it is good because it has to deliver the ultimate census, which will be the best census in the history of Liberia since it is a digital census.”
Given the cost of the 2021 Census, the government has adopted a unique financial management system, whereby all funds are lodged in a “Census Basket Fund” at a local bank and managed by UNFPA.
The Liberian government and the Embassy of Sweden have, meanwhile, made initial contributions, while there is a commitment from the Irish Embassy, the World Bank, UNDP, UN Women and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).