Census: FG establishes basket fund donations  

Oluwanifemi Ojo
Oluwanifemi Ojo
Census in Nigeria

The Federal Government of Nigeria plans to establish a basket fund to receive donations for the 2023 population and housing census.

This was disclosed on Monday by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, at a strategic partners engagement to solicit funds for the 2023 census in Abuja.

The Punch reported that the Minister noted that out of the needed N869 billion for the entire process, the census requirement is N626 billion. The Post-Census fund needed (up to 2025) is N243 billion. The Federal government has made a commitment of N291.5bn.

In his words, “So far, the government has committed N291.5bn ($632m) to the census, making it 46 per cent of total funding for the census. An Additional (immediate) sum of N327.2bn ($709.9m) is required to complete the census.”

According to Agba, the census ought to have taken place in 2016 inline with the United Nation’s recommendation for a decennial census.

“That administration, however, exited in 2015 without accomplishing the wish. From 2015 to 2016 the country slipped into a recession due to the crash in oil price and production.

“In 2018/2019, the government recommitted to the conduct of the census. In 2020, Covid-19 disrupted plans for the exercise. The census was rescheduled for March 2023, but now recommended to hold in May 2023. In 2021/2022, funds were appropriated for the Census. The Census was initially planned for 2022, but was moved to 2023, after the elections,” he stated.

Speaking about the FG’s basket fund, Agba said the United Nations Population Fund will manage the basket fund. This organisation is also providing technical and financial support to the National Population Commission with technical and financial support.

According to The Punch, the minister implored private organisations to donate either through cash or volunteer to purchase some of the materials needed for the nationwide census.

Ms. Ulla Mueller, the UNFPA’s resident representative, emphasized the importance of conducting a census in order to prevent recurring guesses at the nation’s population.

She noted that in addition to the technical assistance that would be given, the UNFPA may provide cash support totaling about $10 million.

The Chairman, Heirs Holdings Group and Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, spoke on behalf of Organised Private Sector and African Philanthropic Organisations, noting the census is needed for national development.

In his words, “For me, this task is critical to our country’s future – if we do not know our population, we cannot properly plot our developmental path, our economic growth, our society’s goals. Credible demographic data is of profound importance for the public and private sectors alike.  We all know we live in a data-driven world.

“As a private sector leader with investments in key sectors of the Nigerian economy through the Heirs Holdings Group, Transcorp Group, United Bank for Africa Group, and with the work we do at the Tony Elumelu Foundation in empowering thousands of young entrepreneurs and building the entrepreneurial capacity on the continent, I understand first-hand, the value and importance of available, accessible and accurate data in making informed decisions, driving development, and creating opportunities.”

He also stressed that the forthcoming census is a significant turning point in Nigeria’s development because it offers the chance to gather precise and trustworthy information on the population and housing of the nation.

He mentioned that the information that would be deduced from the population will be crucial for policymakers, actors in the private sector, and civil society organizations.

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