Clem Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, announced that the Federal Government intends to establish a basket fund to collect donations for the population and housing census of 2023.
Monday in Abuja, Agba stated this during a high-level partners engagement to solicit support for the 2023 census.
He added that a total of N869 billion is required for the census, adding that the government had pledged N291 billion, leaving a shortfall of N327.2 billion.
“The entire requirement for the census (including post-census activities) is N869bn ($1.88bn): census requirement – N626bn ($1.36bn), which is almost $6 per capita (only slightly above the threshold of up to $5 per capita); Post-Census (up to 2025) is N243bn ($5m),” he stated.
“The government has allocated N291.5 billion ($632 million) to the census thus far, representing 46 percent of the overall funding for the census. To complete the census, an additional (immediate) payment of N327.2bn ($709.9m) is necessary.”
Further, Agba said that the census exercise was originally set for last year, but was delayed for March 2023, with a recommendation that it be done in May 2023.
He stated, “The previous Nigerian census was performed in 2006.” The former government recommended a new census for 2016 in accordance with the United Nations’ guideline for decennial censuses in 2014.
“Yet, that administration left office in 2015 without achieving the objective. The country entered a recession from 2015 to 2016 as a result of the collapse in oil prices and production.
“Government recommitted to conducting the census in 2018-2019. In 2020, Covid-19 disturbed the exercise’s planning. Rescheduled for March 2023, it is now proposed that the census occur in May 2023. In 2021/2022, appropriations were made for the Census. The Census was originally scheduled for 2022 but was postponed to 2023 following the 2022 elections.
He noted that the basket fund will be administered by the United Nations Population Fund, which also provides technical and financial support to the National Population Commission.
The minister invited members of the private sector to either donate money or volunteer to purchase a portion of the census supplies.
Ms. Ulla Mueller, UNFPA’s Resident Representative, emphasized the importance for the census in order to avoid relying on periodical estimates of the country’s current population.
In addition to the technical assistance, she indicated that the UNFPA’s cash contribution may be around $10 million.
Speaking on behalf of Organised Private Sector and African Philanthropic Organisations, the Chairman of Heirs Holdings Group and Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation emphasized the importance of the census to the development and progress of the country.
He stated, “This effort is crucial to the future of our nation; if we do not know our population, we cannot effectively plan our developmental route, our economic growth, and our society’s objectives. Credible demographic information is crucial for both the public and business sectors. We are all aware that we inhabit a data-driven world.
“As a private sector leader with investments in key sectors of the Nigerian economy through the Heirs Holdings Group, Transcorp Group, United Bank for Africa Group, and with the work we do at the Tony Elumelu Foundation in empowering thousands of young entrepreneurs and building the entrepreneurial capacity on the continent, I know firsthand the value and importance of available, accessible, and accurate data in making informed decisions, driving development, and fostering innovation.”
“The upcoming census is a significant milestone in Nigeria’s development, as it provides an opportunity to collect accurate and reliable data on the country’s population and housing, which will serve as an indispensable resource for policymakers, private sector actors, and civil society organizations.
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