By Chijioke Okoronkwo, Abuja.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government has spent N21 billion on the mapping of the country into enumeration areas for the 2023 census.
The vice-president disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at the Breakfast Meeting with Partners on the 2023 Population and Housing Census.
The theme of the meeting organised by the National Population Commission (NPC), in collaboration with UNFPA, is: “Supporting a Transformational Census Process in Nigeria.’’
Osinbajo was represented by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President.
The vice-president said that the Federal Government had so far approved the sum of N198 billion in the 2022 Appropriation Act and had released about 60 per cent of the funds for the exercise.
“By 2050, Nigeria is projected to have 400 million people; government must continue to provide quality basic education, nutrition and healthcare for them; while improving on security and creating more job opportunities for our young people who currently make up more than half of our country’s population.
“Thus, the work of NPC and its partners is even more crucial at this point. Adequate planning, data and structure are vital factors in creating sustainable growth and national development.
“The Federal Government had demonstrated tangible commitment to the conduct of the 2023 Population and Housing Census, as evidenced in the provision of funds for the implementation of important preliminary activities.
“Specifically, the Federal Government has spent about N21 billion for the mapping of the country into enumeration areas for the census.
“The government, so far has now approved the sum of N198 billion in the 2022 Appropriation Act, of which about 60 per cent has since been released,’’ he said.
He said that the funds had positioned the commission in readiness for the successful conduct of the census in April 2023
The vice-president, however, said that there was need for more resources and additional funding sources from committed partners.
Osinbajo said that the breakfast meeting was a necessary step towards soliciting support for the conduct of a census that will be truly digital, scientific and provide data that would guide in national development.
He commended NPC, UNFPA and all partners for their commitment and hard work to meet the set goals.
“I would like to urge our distinguished partners to extend maximum cooperation to the country, our government, in the execution of this very important project.
“It is our expectation that as our dependable partners, you will as always play this expected role towards the successful conduct of the 2023 census,’’ he said.
On his part, the Executive Chairman of NPC, Nasir Kwarra, said that the meeting provided a good opportunity to discuss the journey so far on the preparation for the exercise.
According to him, the objectives of the breakfast are to solicit support and mobilise resources to bridge the resources gaps and promote robust national and international collaboration.
He said that the third objective was to foster national and international engagement through the inauguration of the Nigeria 2023 Census Partners Forum.
Kwarra said that the commission was taking requisite steps towards a successful census in 2023.
“In preparations for the 2023 Population Housing Census, the Commission has since implemented several critical preparatory activities necessary for the success of the exercise.
“These include the demarcation of the country into enumeration areas, design and development of tools and instruments, conduct of the first and second pre-test, validation of instruments.
“And to conduct of a trial census to test the methodology, programmes, computational techniques and equipment that will be used in the census and the conduct of a national stakeholder’s summit,’’ he said.
Others speakers at the meeting were the representative of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Ulla Mueller, UNFPA Resident Representative and Ben Akabueze, Director-General of the Budget Office for the Federation.
There were also goodwill messages from development partners and members of the diplomatic corps and the highlight of the event was the inauguration of the Donor’s Forum by the vice-president.