The National Population Commission, NPC, has spent a whooping N200 billion in preparation for the Population and Housing Census from the N800 billion budgeted for the Census before the postponement of the exercise.
Chairman, NPC, Nasir Isa Kwarra disclosed these on Thursday at the Breakfast meeting for Media Executives in Abuja.
He said the N800 billion is a figure worked out that there is a model that included salaries from 2014 and training of personnel and adhoc staff for the Census exercise.
According to him, the Commission may spend more or less than the amount in the budget presented to the government, and it is a budget that might be financed by the government or donor agencies.
While responding to questions, the NPC boss pointed out that the Commission have had two meetings with the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, which he said have been supportive in the preparations so far.
“The shifting of the Census exercise is a blessing in disguise to the Commission. We have had two meetings with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and there have been pledges made by donor agencies and some corporate organisations. The UNFPA have funded trainings and purchased necessary devices for the Green census. We now have 800,000 Tablets configured to a particular user, and could be tracked if removed from the user. Maybe, shifting the census date would afford us the opportunity to realise the pledges made”, Nasir Isa Kwarra said, and did not disclose how much have been realised at the Breakfast meetings held with the UNFPA, donor agencies and corporate organisations.
He told the gathering that the Commission have conducted trial census before the postponement; an exercise, he said, exposed the Commission to some issues that have since been corrected. “We’ve learnt a lot from the trial census, and our devices are intact in our various offices across the country.”
He was however emphatic when he expressed that the Commission was prepared to go on with the census exercise whenever the incoming Administration calls for the commencement of the Population and Housing Census. “We’ve done all that is needed to do on the Census. Should the incoming Administration, after its inauguration, choses to go on with the Population and Housing Census this year, we are ready to go. We’ve done all that is required to conduct credible, transparent and reliable census. We’re ready to go”.
According to Isa Kwarra, the Commission is still working on the security to ensure peaceful exercise whenever it is called upon to commence with the census.
“Security in very important in this Population and Housing Census, and we are not going to rely solely on the local security during the exercise,” Nasir Isa Kwarra said.