Rep. Okafor opined that the funds invested in the 2023 population census planning would have improved economic planning and distribution of palliatives in the country.
The House of Representatives has mandated the Committee on Population to investigate the N200 billion expended on the postponed 2023 population and housing census by the National Population Commission.
The directive is contained in a motion on the “Need to Investigate the Expenditure on the Postponed 2023 Population and Housing Census by the National Population Commission and Conduct of the National Population/Housing Census” sponsored by Rep. Dominic Okafor (APGA, Anambra) and cosponsors Rep. Patrick Umoh (PDP, Akwa Ibom)
Presenting the motion, Okafor noted that the Census provides accurate population data crucial for development planning, policy formulation, resource allocation, and government program implementation, especially at a time when the Federal Government in conjunction with State Governments working on giving palliatives to vulnerable citizens and also planning other social services.
He also noted that the National Population Commission in Nigeria, conducts periodic censuses, surveys, and other methods to enumerate the country’s population, providing data for national planning and economic development.
According to him, “The national census was last conducted in Nigeria in 2006 and the 2023 census, which was scheduled for May 2023, was postponed by the National Population Commission.
“The data collected in the 2006 Population Census is far from reality in 2023 and cannot validly form a solid base for the formation of national economic policies that will aid the federal government in administering viable national planning.”
The lawmaker noted that “The National Population Commission has admitted to having spent Two Hundred Billion Naira (N200, 000, 000, 000) as part of the Eight Hundred Billion Naira (N800, 000, 000, 000) budgeted for the planning mid-execution of the 2023 population and housing census, which was postponed.”
He added that the financial investment in 2023 population census planning would have improved economic planning and distribution of palliatives in the country.
Okafor further recalled the Commission’s remarks, that if the population and housing census fails to take place within 12 months, the information gathered across the country would become stale, a waste of resources, and the country would have to increase costs of gathering fresh information.
“The National Population Commission, led by the Chairman, Alhaji Nasir lsa Kwarra, expressed readiness to conduct a population and housing census during a visit to President Bola AhmedTinubu on July 6, 2023.”
The committee is also to and liaise with the National Population Commission to ensure a successful population and housing census when proclaimed.