Depoliticise population and housing census - Govt Statistician appeals to MPs

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, Government Statistician
Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, Government Statistician

The Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, has appealed to Members of Parliament (MPs) and Ghanaians in general to depoliticise discussions bordering on the ongoing 2021 population and housing census (PHC).

He said the politicisation of the process had long-term implications due to the risk of eroding public confidence in the exercise and the data, which in turn would affect acceptability and uptake of the data.

“The aim of the census is to produce relevant and accurate data for research, policy and planning and as such, it is important that there is trust in the data that is produced from all groups within the country,” he said.

Boundary disputes

Briefing the House on the GH¢521 million ($90 million) PHC, progress made and challenges confronting the exercise in Parliament last Tuesday, Prof. Annim further urged politicians to refrain from politicising discussions on boundary disputes across all regions.

According to him, boundary disputes were preventing enumerators from working, a reason the GSS was engaging with administrative, political and traditional leaders in those areas for the census exercise to be conducted unimpeded.

“The implication of not being able to collect data from areas under dispute is the inability to have complete coverage. As such, the intervention of MPs to help resolve the remaining stand-offs in their constituencies is greatly needed,” he said.

Political interference

Prof. Annim recounted the insistence of some political leaders--regional ministers, metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives as well as regional/district party chairpersons--that persons who had not applied for the recruitment and had not been interviewed and/or had not been selected after interviewing be added to the training.

 He also said the addition of trainees who had not been invited at the insistence of political leaders at some training centres led to increased costs in the form of additional persons to be fed and paid training allowances.

“Despite the directive from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) headquarters that no such persons were to be admitted, monitors discovered that some training centre leads were obliged to add such persons to the training so that there could be peace to continue the training,” he said.

Request

He requested MPs to support the public education campaign by sensitising their constituents to the census process.

“Members of Parliament are also humbly requested to avail themselves to be enumerated and allow the media to capture part of the interview so that the media reporting can be used for advocacy to encourage all constituents to endeavour to be counted,” he appealed.