The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, has disclosed that the Federal Government plans to establish a basket fund to collect donations for the 2023 population and housing census.
He made this disclosure at a high-level partners engagement to seek support for the 2023 census in Abuja on Monday.
Agba noted that a total of N869bn is needed for the census, adding that the government committed N291,5bn with the need for an additional N327.2bn.
He said, “The total requirement for the census (including post census activities) is N869bn ($1.88bn): census requirement – N626bn ($1.36bn) which is about $6 per capita (just slightly above the threshold of up to $5 per capita); Post-Census (up to 2025) is N243bn ($527m).
“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.”
Agba further disclosed that the census exercise was to be conducted last year, but rescheduled for March 2023, but there is a recommendation that it should be held in May, 2023.
He said, “The last census in Nigeria was conducted in 2006. In 2014, the previous government proposed another census for 2016 in line with the UN recommendation for Decennial census.
“That administration, however, exited in 2015 without accomplishing the wish. From 2015 to 2016 the country slipped into a recession due to crash in oil price and production.
“In 2018/2019, 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 added that the basket fund will be managed by the United Nations Population Fund, which is also providing the National Population Commission with technical and financial support.
The minister urged members of the private sector to either donate cash or offer to buy some of the materials needed for the census.
The Resident Representative, UNFPA, Ms Ulla Mueller, stressed the need for the census to avoid the regular guess on the current population of the country.
She added that financial support from the UNFPA may be around $10m alongside the technical support that would be provided.
Speaking on behalf of Organised Private Sector and African Philanthropic Organisations, the Chairman, Heirs Holdings Group and Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation, also noted the need for the census for the country’s development and growth.
He said, “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.
“The upcoming census is a significant milestone in Nigeria’s development, as it provides an opportunity to collect accurate and reliable data on the country’s population and housing, which will serve as a vital tool for policymakers, private sector actors, and civil society organisations.