Minister to seek assistance with census

National Planning Minister, Samuel H Basil, will be seeking support from Development Partners to help co-fund and assist with the 2020 National Census to ensure it is done accurately and in a timely way.

Minister Basil said this after an intense meeting with National Statistical Office team, led by acting National Statistician John Igitoi over the weekend in Buang, Bulolo, Morobe Province.

The preparations for the 2020 National Census are lagging behind by four months due to a combination of leadership management crisis and the untimely release of required funding.

The leadership crisis is awaiting legal advice from Office of the State Solicitor for the Department of Personnel Management to progress the matter further.

Earlier, Basil had directed an audit of the K20 million expended thus far. This K20 million was appropriated for 2019 Budget although a budget estimate of K81 million was submitted in November last year for the National Census 2020 preparation.

“This audit is necessary for me to appreciate what the key expenditure items are for the 2020 National Census and how funds have been expended so far,” Basil told the NSO team on Saturday.

Igitoi told Basil that he welcomed the audit – and that he had in fact requested the audit earlier with then Minister for National Planning, Richard Maru, after his appointment as acting National Statistician.

The briefing over the weekend, which included UNFPA Technical Advisor Mercedita Tia and acting Census Director and Divisional Head of Population and Social Statistics Hajily Kele, highlighted that an additional K66 million is now required for procurement and listing of households and to ensure preparation run uninterrupted until March 2020 when the 2020 Budget allocations kick in.

Igitoi advised the Minister that NSO had asked for just under K200 million all up between 2018-2020 to cater for the 2020 National Census based on the following:

  • In 2000 National Census – K140 million was expended to enumerate a population of 5.2 million;
  • In 2011 National Census – K160 million was expended to enumerate a population of 7.2 million;
  • For 2020 National Census – K200 million is needed to enumerate a population anticipated to be up to 10 million.

“It must be noted that there was no sacrifice on quality in 2000 Census and the reports were published shortly after the enumeration exercise. The 2011 Census – was late by a year (It was due in 2012) – and it took two years from enumeration exercise to actual publication of census statistics,” said Igitoi.

In light of this, Basil directed the NSO team to make as much use of the 314 LLG Managers nationwide, the District Development Authorities so they can engage Ward Planning Committees to assist as much as possible. Major media awareness is vital so the population can be informed as much as possible well before the Census Reference Night, which is Sunday 12th July, 2020.

“I also want you to furnish to me all the assistance and funding requirements from non-government sources, especially our development partners as soon as possible,” said Basil.

The Minister will be addressing the heads of the diplomatic corps in Port Moresby this week at which he is likely to highlight the need for development partners’ assistance and follow this up in subsequent meetings with both bilateral and multilateral development partners.

“I have also directed the NSO Team to work on an NEC Information Paper which I will bring to Cabinet on this matter,” Basil stated.

“This NEC Information Paper will provide an appreciation of what’s being done, what’s required and when as well as possible Government interventions that may be required to ensure the 2020 National Census is given the due attention it rightfully deserves,” he concluded.

(From left: Member for Bulolo and Planning Minister, Sam Basil, Acting National Statistician John Igitoi, Deputy Census Director Hajily Kele and Chief Technical Advisor, Census - UNFPA, Mercedita Tia)

Press release