The Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Nasir Isa Kwarra, has said that preparations for the conduct of the next census have reached an advanced stage and that it will be the first fully digital exercise in the history of the country.
He said so far, about 98% of the total land area of the country has been demarcated into enumeration areas.
Kwarra, who was speaking at a Lunch Time Seminar organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in Abuja on Tuesday, February 15, 2023 also said the demarcation exercise began in 2015 and further delay in conducting the next census will make the products thereof less optimal for the next census in view of the rapidly changing environmental landscape and settlement patterns in the country.
According to him, the census become necessary to help the country plan well for its national development.
He explained that, “The continuous usage of the 2006 Census for the estimation of Nigeria’s population has created a data gap in global population which does not do credit to the nation’s reputation. Nigeria is the seventh most populous nation on earth and will be the third most populous country after China and India in 2050 going by the current rate of growth. Relying on an estimate from a census conducted 16 years ago for a country that hosts a significant proportion of the world population is counterproductive.
“Coming at a time when preparations for the conduct of the 2023 Population and Housing Census are in top gear, the topic of this year’s Seminar fits perfectly into our plan to provide accurate and reliable demographic data for national development. A national census provides important information on a country’s population that is used in government planning and to underpin the national statistical system. Therefore, the quality of such information is paramount to national development,” he added.
The NPC Chairman also said population is a critical factor in a nation’s efforts towards achieving sustainable development.
He said knowledge of the country’s population in terms of size, distribution and socio-economic characteristics is required for planning purposes, which therefore makes the conduct of census an essential governance activity.
Earlier, the BPSR Director-General, Dasuki I. Arabi, said the theme of the seminar, “National Development and The Imperatives of 2023 population and Housing Census,” was deliberately selected due to its timeliness.
He said the conduct of the 2023 population and housing census is a top priority for this administration and is borne out of the desire to bequeath an enduring legacy of evidence-based planning for sustainable development.
“The last comprehensive national population census was conducted in 2006. Since 2017, the National Population Commission has focused her efforts on household and other surveys, in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics,” Arabi added.
The BPSR DG also said the conduct of the 2023 population and housing census is therefore to complement the giant strides of government by laying a sustainable basis for a planned and prosperous Nigeria.
He said the importance of population census includes knowing population size, revenue estimation, telling the economic needs of the future, determining the level of unemployment and of standard of living, formulation of economic policies and knowing umber of immigrants.
Others according to him include provision of social amenities, determination of population density, showing the level of available manpower, giving of aids, investment decisions and allocation of parliamentary seats.
Aliyu Umar Aliyu
15th Feb, 2023