The Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), has announced that at most, US$20m is needed to conduct the 2018 Census in compliance with the Constitution.
Article 39 of the 1986 constitution says that: “The National Legislature shall cause a census of the Republic to be taken every ten years.”
Liberia’s latest and fourth Census was held in 2008. Census is the largest data collection exercise in a country, and is often undertaken every 10 years.
LISGIS Director General Dr. Edward Liberty told the House joint Committee on Judiciary, Good Governance and Election in a public hearing in the joint chambers on Capitol Hill last Friday that the population data from the 2018 Census will play a major role in the formulation of constituency boundaries for the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections, using the population threshold set by the Legislature.
“The (population) data will be used for socio-economic development planning and development purposes, monitoring of government development programs and international interventions such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among others,” he said.
The LISGIS Director told the Joint Committee that the estimated US$20m was based on the population projection of 4.3 million at the rate of US$4.50 per head.
His breakdown of the estimated cost of the census is as follows: Census Cartography/Mapping (29.38%); Publicity Advocacy (5.56%); Pilot Census (0.55%); Field Enumeration (31.14%); Post Enumeration Survey (1.27%); Data Processing (3.21%) and Data Analysis (1.12%).
Other estimations include Publication (1.15%); Results Dissemination (0.34%); International Expertise (7.29%); Training & Tour (1.04%); Local Costs (13.18%) and Unforeseen/Constituency (4.76%).
Dr. Liberty said of the three methods in census collection, LISGIS is still studying which method to use to get a desirable result.
He named the methods as Mapping, De Jure and De Facto L.
In the 2008 Census LISGIS used the De Facto method, which is the counting of household members based on where a household member spent the night on the eve of the census.
The census indicated a population of 3.5 million inhabitants in Liberia in 2008 but sparked a controversy over the low number of inhabitants counted in an area owing to where they slept on the eve of the census.
An independent and lecturer at the University of Liberia, Mr. N. Macpherson David said the “2018 Census is necessary but LISGIS places emphasis on public awareness.”
The chairman of the Geography Department at the University of Liberia, Prof. Jethro S. Tamba also urged the lawmakers to endorse the implementation of the census, arguing that it will serve as a “helpful document.”
Finance Ministry Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs Adolphus D. Forkpa said the “Ministry will work closely with LISGIS to raise the needed funds.”
Liberia has conducted four censuses: 1962, 1974, 1984 and 2008 and they revealed a growing population of 1.1m, 1.5m, 2.1m and 3.5m.
Meanwhile, the public hearing on the 2018 Census stemmed from a letter from President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, asking the House of Representatives to sanction the 2018 Census.
Atty. Saywah Worleh Dunah of Nimba County is the chairman on the House Judiciary, and is the lead chairperson on the joint committee to review the President’s letter, conduct public hearings, and advise Plenary whether or not the 2018 Census should be approved.