GSS courts support for successful census

BY: Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor
 Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim — Government Statistician
Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim — Government Statistician

The Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, has called for support from other state agencies for the smooth conduct of this year’s National Population and Housing Census.

He said it would be impossible for a single entity to carry out a successful census and, therefore, recommended collaboration among all stakeholders to ensure that the exercise came off without hitches.

Prof. Annim accordingly called on governmental agencies and other bodies to assist the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) to come up with a census that contained quality data to guide the planning and development of the country, adding that the service was only facilitating the process.

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the census was rescheduled from last year to the first quarter of this year.

Agricultural census

Prof. Annim made the call at a regional seminar to disseminate the report on the National Census of Agriculture in Kumasi.

He explained that a population and housing census was very critical to the development of every nation and should be taken seriously.

The census, he said, was critical to the strengthening of democracy, as, for example, it served as a basis for creating new constituencies and districts.

The Government Statistician said a population and housing census “leaves no one behind and captures everyone within a locality and can give information on local areas and districts”, adding that it was the only exercise that had the disaggregated data of all the sectors of the economy.

Tentative date

Prof. Annim said this year’s census was likely to take place in the second quarter of the year, depending on the outcome of the COVID-19.

He said the service had fixed May 2 for the start of the exercise but said it was in discussions with the Ghana Education Service to ensure that the commencement did not coincide with the reopening of schools around that time.

According to him, facilities in some senior high schools would be needed to train enumerators.

Agriculture census

Speaking on the agricultural census, he said Ghana had not conformed with the law that required it to conduct such censuses regularly.

He said per the law, a census on agriculture ought to be conducted three years after every population and housing census.

However, Prof. Annim said, the last time Ghana conducted an agricultural census was 1984, until President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commissioned the service to conduct the recent one in 2017-2018.

He wondered if the Ghanaian economy could really be described as agrarian, due to the meagre contribution of agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Government Statistician explained that Ghana could not be described as agrarian if the contribution of agriculture to GDP was used for that determination, since agriculture contributed about one-fifth of total GDP.

Nonetheless, he said, considering the number of people involved in the sector, one would be right to describe the economy as agrarian, since more than 36 per cent of the labour force was engaged in agriculture.

Prof. Annim appealed to the participants in the seminar to help disseminate information on the census to the people on the ground to help with planning and policy initiatives.