In a significant update regarding the National Population Census (NPC) adhoc staff training, Chairman Nasir Isa Kwarra has revealed that President Bola Tinubu will soon announce new dates for Nigeria’s long-awaited national population and housing census. This news comes as a crucial development in the ongoing preparations for the census, which has seen multiple delays and rescheduling.
During a meeting with State House correspondents, NPC Chairman Kwarra emphasized the importance of avoiding further delays in conducting the census, as it would result in additional expenses for the government. The census, initially scheduled for May 3 to 7, 2023, by the previous administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, was postponed to a date to be determined under the Tinubu administration.
Following his meeting with President Tinubu, Kwarra affirmed that the President is fully briefed on the commission’s plans and processes for the census. He expressed the President’s understanding that any further delay would lead to increased costs for the government.
Kwarra acknowledged that the preparations for the census have already consumed a substantial amount of funds, amounting to N100 billion. However, he assured that future census exercises would be less expensive as they would build upon the foundation established by the current census. He also addressed concerns raised by the NPC commissioner in Ekiti State, stating that if the census does not proceed promptly, additional expenses may be incurred. However, Kwarra assured that the President is receptive to their requests and is fully aware of the implications of further delays.
In response to questions about the expenditure of N200 billion, Kwarra explained that conducting a digital census is a costly endeavor, particularly for a foundational census. However, he expressed confidence that the completion of the census and the resources acquired during the process would yield significant returns, surpassing the implementation cost. Kwarra stated that the government would even have surpluses in its coffers once the census is concluded.
When asked about the nature of the investment, considering that the NPC is not a revenue-making agency, Kwarra clarified that the preparation for the census has generated geospatial data that has the potential to generate income for the government. He emphasized that the geospatial data goes beyond simple scanning and will contribute to revenue generation for the government.
With President Tinubu’s impending announcement of new census dates, the nation eagerly awaits the realization of this crucial exercise that will not only provide invaluable data but also contribute to the economic growth and development of Nigeria.