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Business News of Sunday, 30 May 2021

Source: GNA

Outcome of 2021 census will help Ghana review 2020 per capita GDP - Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, says the outcome of the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) would aid the nation to review her 2020 per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from GH¢13,000.79 to a much higher figure.

Per capita income is a measure of the amount of money earned per person in a country, while per capita income of a nation is calculated by dividing the country's national income by its population.

Mr Ofori-Atta, who is Chairman of the National Census Steering Committee, speaking at the launch of the 30-day countdown to the Census Night, in Accra, said having accurate and reliable data would aid government, businesses and Civil Society Organisations, to effectively plan, monitor and evaluate policies and programmes for developmental growth.

Additionally, he said, quality and accurate data would guide the country's path towards achieving the 2063 African Agenda, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) and debt sustainability for national and global development efforts.

The Minister emphasised that the 2021 NPHC was critical as it would create an industrialised society, social justice and equal opportunity for all.

Government, he said, recognised the important role accurate and reliable data played in the country's development efforts as it would guide the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Mr Ofori-Atta noted that, over the years, successive governments had been implementing poverty alleviation strategies, including the Livelihoods Empowerment Programme Against Poverty, which saw the number of beneficiaries increased from 230,000 to 334,000 households, while the School Feeding Programme benefitted more than five million pupils across the country.

Accurate data will, therefore, help to improve the well-being of deserving vulnerable persons.

The PHC was postponed in 2020 to this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and thus, Mr Ofori-Atta observed had affected the government's budget by creating a budget gap of 54.5 million.

This, he explained, was because of the procurement of personal protective equipment for census field officers and training of 76,500 census field officers and supervisors towards ensuring a strict compliance to the COVID-19 safety protocols.

So far, the Minister stated that, government had disbursed GHC467 million to the Ghana Statistical Service out of GHC521.3 million budgeted for the exercise.

Mr Dan Kweku Botwe, Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Decentralisation, emphasizing the importance of Census, said it had formed the basis for the creation of districts and regions through the years.

He said the data collected on housing would help to assess the availability, quality, access and tenancy arrangements at household level.

This would lead to better planning and improvement interventions at the districts, metropolitan, municipal, districts, regional and national levels.

The critical data collected would also help in the resolution of boundary disputes as well as improvement in waste management for better sanitation and a healthier environment.

Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who is Chairman of Publicity, Education and Advocacy Committee, in his remarks, said the success of the Census hinged on effective publicity and education campaigns towards the creation of awareness.

He, therefore, urged all stakeholders, including the media, religious leaders and CSOs to intensify their sensitisation drive.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the 30-day countdown to the Census, as part of measures to whip up national consciousness towards the exercise.

The Population and Housing Census will commence with a Census Night on Sunday, June 27, while proper enumeration would begin from Monday, June 28.

The slogan for the 2021 Census is, 'You Count, Get Counted', and Ghana Statistical Service is the lead agency for organizing the PHC.

It has earmarked 131,000 enumeration areas across the country and trained 85,000 census field officers and supervisors for the exercise.

The 30-day countdown was also witnessed by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, who launched the 100-day countdown on Friday, March 19, 2021 at the Alisa Hotel, in Accra.