​Country’s population unknown: O’Neill

The country’s population is still unknown, where proper data is needed, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

“We really do not know how many people live in our country.

“We have estimates, but these are not accurate enough,” O’Neill said in Parliament on Tuesday during the first 10th Parliament sitting.

He said the Government needs to re-establish a National Data Collection Centre so that we can plan better and we can develop policies that better reflect the population distribution in our country.

“Accurate population data is key for proper public policy planning and monitoring. 

“We must aim to keep our economic growth above our population growth, and we can only do this by having access to reliable data so that we can monitor these very indicators as we move forward.”

Meanwhile, O’Neill added that providing healthcare to remote and rural areas remains a core Government policy.

He said access to health care should not be restricted to urban areas only, and in this term of Government, they will continue to build and rehabilitate district and provincial hospitals.

“We will continue to work with churches, NGOS and partners to strengthen our healthcare services.

“We will subsidise specialised healthcare, and we will improve the collation and use of health data and wellbeing indicators.”

Freddy Mou