‘We’ll Support You But Be Prudent, Leverage On Digital Age’ — Tinubu Tells NPC

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Thursday, disclosed that the Federal Government will support the National Population Commission (NPC) to conduct an accurate census in the country.

According to a statement by Dele Alake, Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Tinubu made the submission during a meeting with Nasir Kwarra, NPC’s Chairman.

While expressing concerns over the delayed population and housing census, he said the commission needs to be prudent in its assignment and work towards producing data that would be credible and reliable.

He furthered that the NPC should view the delay as an opportunity to leverage the advantages of the current electronic and digital age.

”It is disappointing that up until now we have not been able to conduct another enumeration of our people. I hope that this delay will be converted into a great opportunity in this electronic and digital age.

“The challenge is yours and I hope that during the demarcation you did, you would have noticed the migration of people to urban centres because of the extreme poverty and unemployment.

“Digitalising the process will make your job easier and I don’t see why we don’t, by now, have a reliable database in Nigeria to identify ourselves and ascertain our numbers for planning purposes and in time of disaster.

“I have listened to you and we will support you. Accuracy and integrity of your data are very important to Nigerians and to our national economic development programmes.

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”We will support you but you have to be prudent and be determined to make a name for yourself,” the President said.

On his part, Kwarra asked for the issuance of a proclamation for a new date for the exercise from the President.

According to him, the commission had demarcated the entire country and trained 60,000 instructors that would further tutor enumerators and supervisors.

In a paper titled “Implementation status of the 2023 population and housing census”, the NPC requested the release of the N31 billion capital allocation, in this year’s budget, for preparatory activities.

The commission also put the total cost of the census, after a methodology review, at N546.72 billion.

The Chairman asked the president to approve an additional N225.2 billion to cover training and fieldwork allowances, retraining of trainers, and the conduct of a second-class trial census.

Also requested was approval to convene stakeholders meeting with the organised private sector and foreign partners to galvanise funds for the census.

Kwarra added that the commission has developed a database that can be useful in national planning, infrastructure development, and revenue generation for the government.

”NPC having completed mapping in March 2022, tested the market with the geospatial data by making it available to researchers at a test price where it generated over N50 million through remittal.

”To this end, with full integrated spatial and statistical data, government geospatial policy and coordination, NPC can generate up to $14 billion and further save a lot of resources for the nation through automation of economic planning by 2028,” he added.