Regional News of Monday, 6 September 2010

Source: GNA

2010 Population and Housing Census - Urgent need for all to get involved

Bolgatanga, Sept. 6, GNA - In view of the significant role Population and Housing Census plays in national development there is the urgent need for all Ghanaians to get involved in the 2010 Population and Housing Census slated to begin on September 26, 2010. Midnight September 26, has been earmarked as the Census Night which would be used as a reference point for the exercise.

In fact there is the need for all Ghanaians to be reminded that the exercise is barely three weeks away and, therefore, it must be given all the needed attention it deserves to enable the country to gather very accurate and credible data to use as a tool for equitable and proper national development.

It should be pointed out that any nation that jokes with conducting its population and housing census stands at a great risk in terms of development.

Population and housing census is the official enumeration of all persons and all living quarters in any country at a specific time. In another perspective it covers the collection, compilation, evaluation, publication and dissemination of demographic, social and economic statistics relating to the population.

The first population census in Ghana was conducted in 1891 during the Gold Coast era. The Census to be conducted is very important for a number of reasons. In the first place it would provide Government with a total number of persons and housing types and other characteristics in every town or village in Ghana to enable it to fashion policies, plans and programmes to facilitate development.

There is, therefore, no doubt that this important information would provide Government with the accurate information to allocate funds equitably and properly for community programmes and services in the field of education, health, housing and other social services. Beside, District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies would use the Census as a yardstick for the allocation of funds for the construction of new roads; water supply systems; community libraries and other development projects.

Census data also guide the Electoral Commission in determining and mapping out new constituency boundaries. Central Government and local assemblies need census to enable them to monitor the structure of the population in order to make policy planning and administration more effective and efficient.

The Census information would also help businessmen and women and the private sectors to plan their activities effectively and efficiently which would in no doubt be beneficial to the economic development of Ghana.

Additionally, Developed countries and donors need census information when planning technical and economic assistance to developing countries including Ghana.

It is against this background that the Government and all stakeholders must play a key role to ensure that the 2010 Census is successfully carried out.

It should be emphasised that everybody in Ghana counts and, therefore, everybody must be counted in the impending Census. Community Leaders, Leaders of Religious Organisations; Civil Society Groups, as well as the Media have a crucial role to play in ensuring successful census for Ghana.

It should also be borne in mind that since the last Census in 2,000 there have been many changes in the structure of the population of the entire country. The 2010 Census would, therefore, assist in updating the socio-demographic and economic data in the country and find out changes in the Population Structure since 2000.

There is a need for Community Leaders, especially Traditional Authorities to organise mini-durbars in their respective communities to drum home the importance of the need to participate actively in the upcoming exercise. The message should be propagated during social gatherings such as festivals, wedding, naming ceremonies and even at the funeral grounds.

There is the need to disabuse the minds of some people, who use traditional beliefs such as, "They don't count all people", as an excuse for not disclosing the number of all members of a household. People should be made to know that the exercise is not meant for taxation but needed as a very crucial tool for national development.

Civil societies should play more active roles by propagating the message and encouraging people to participate in the exercise. There is also the need for the Media to assume a very important role at this crucial period by devoting more airtime to educate and encourage people to take part in the event. Officials from the Ghana Statistical Service and National Population Councils should be invited and given more time to discuss the issue on radio and television. There is also the need for Christian and Muslim Leaders to use this period to make announcements at their worship grounds for people to appreciate the need to participate fully in the process. It should once again be noted that in the Population and Housing Census everyone counts and therefore everyone must be counted in the upcoming Census including mentally challenged, disabled and foreigners in all communities across the country.

At an advocacy seminar held in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region, the Regional Population Officer, Mr Azam Alosibah and the Regional Statistician of the Ghana Statistical Service, Mr Festus Kofi Menu emphasised that communities that did not engage actively in the forthcoming Population and Housing Census would have major setbacks in their development. This warning should be a wake up call for all Traditional Rulers; Parliamentarians; Assemblymen and Assemblywomen, Community Leaders, Religious Leaders to double up their efforts by encouraging people in their respective communities to participate fully in the exercise to make it a successful one. Let us all join hands to make the Census a very successful one so that together as Ghanaians we would all benefit from it. All hands on deck!!!