‘It’s Time to Fast-track National Population Census,’ -Pres. Weah

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Pres. Weah administers oath of office to the Census 2019 Commissioners. (Photo Credit: Executive Mansion Photo)

President George Weah says the conduct of national population census is necessary and unavoidable and must, therefore, be fast-tracked, a release from Executive Mansion has said.

According to the release, President Weah recalled how the last population census was done in 2008 and that the next round of the census activity should have commenced this year.

He said it becomes an almost imperative for government and its partners to undertake “this very important national process in the coming year.”

The President thanked the country’s development partners for their enormous support, and implored them to continue their cooperation as his government undertakes the pending population census, which he described as “relevant but complex.”

“We are ending the first year of our administration very soon which, though it may not appear perfect, is not bad at all,” the President told a cheering audience before commissioning a 30-member multi-stakeholder committee on December 13 in the C. Cecil Dennis Conference Hall at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“I am very confident that the outcome of the 2019 National Population Census will provide this government and its partners the actual data and information we need to do better in the coming years,” Weah said.

The President called on members of the Census Commission to work as a team, in order to come out with accurate and quality data and information relevant in line with government’s implementation of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.

He said since the last ten years following the conduct of the 2008 Census, development planners and even ordinary people have not been exact on the actual population data of the country, resulting in guesswork.

With the 2019 Population Census, President Weah said everyone would be exact and sure of the correct national data critical for the country’s development needs.

The director-general of Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information (LISGIS), Francis F. Wreh, said it would require about US$19.5 million to undertake the 2019 Population Census.

Wreh said with a couple of partners, such as UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), World Bank, Swedish International Development Agency, and others expressing their commitment to help defray (fund, finance) a significant portion of the budgeted amount, government is left to come up with about US$6.8 million.

Mr. Wreh disclosed plans by his agency to host a donor conference early next year so that partners will raise the required funds needed to conduct the pending Population Census.

Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, who is also Chairperson of the Census Commission, said that government would make an initial disbursement of US$3 million early next year to the census budget.

Tweah said the ministry was in the final stage of making the disbursement possible in January 2019 and, therefore, he promised that the Commission would make use of every available method and best practice to ensure that the 2019 Census becomes the best ever conducted in the country.

The 2019 National Population Census Commission comprises high-level representatives of relevant stakeholders from the public sector as well as development partners and civil society.

It is chaired by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning and co-chaired by LISGIS Director-General, with a secretariat headed by the National Census coordinator.

The Commission will provide guidance on sectoral technical issues through stakeholder representation regarding development of the census instruments, support the national management institutions, and ensure efficient management of the 2019 National Population and Housing Census. Each of them will consist of a broad section of stakeholders of the census exercise.

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