Data from the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) will be used to share national resources equally across the country and save lives and livelihoods, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said.
According to him, government remains committed to evidence-based planning and decision-making across all spheres of the nation; hence, data from the census will be the best tool to spread development equally in the country.
Speaking at the Ghana Statistical Service’s (GSS) official launch of the 30-day countdown to the census night – slated for June 27, 2021, President Akufo-Addo (GSS) said: “Government will use this census data, just as it has done on previous occasions, to assess the extent to which we have made progress in our national development agenda”.
He explained that data collected will enable government to measure the social and economic condition of the nation, and receive the valuable inputs necessary for charting a road map for achieving targets and indicators envisioned in the national development agenda.
He stressed that this is in line with the coordinated programme of economic and social development policies 2017-2024.
President Akufo-Addo appealed for every Ghanaian to rally behind the exercise, publicise it and eschew religious or political connotations, since the data will be used for the betterment of every citizen.
“This is not the time to create controversy and confusion around this important national development activity. Census data will save lives and livelihoods.”
He encouraged Ghanaians to do the right thing and support the publicity, education and advocacy activities by conveying only reliable information and facilitating constructive discussions on issues around the Census process.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the Population and Housing Census originally slated for March 2020 to 27 June 2021.
Per the United Nations directive, countries are encouraged to conduct a census every ten years.
Officials for the census have been competitively recruited and competently trained to ensure that data collected is accurate.
The data collection is to start with the listing of structures from June 13, 2021.
Persons in transit and those staying in places such as hospitals, hotels, guest-houses will all be counted on census night.
The enumeration of households and long-stay facilities will be done from 28 June to 11 July, 2021.
What makes the 2021 Census unique
This year’s census is unique in several important ways: It will be the first fully-digital census to be conducted in Ghana. It entails the use of tablets and the Internet to capture and transfer the information in real-time.
There will be use of rich geospatial information, including its capturing by Geographic Positioning System (GPS).
Also, there will be online dashboard and comprehensive data quality assurance procedures, including the use of real-time enumeration and data quality monitoring to ensure every structure and person is counted.
This will guarantee complete and accurate data to ensure no one is left behind.
The information will be categorised under thematic areas such as housing and living conditions, water and sanitation, and difficulty in performing activities of daily living.
It will halve the period between end of data collection and release of results, and will be the first time the nation receives census information tabulated by the constituencies to improve progress tracking within the important governance structure.
The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, assured that all the funds needed to execute the Census will be made available.
He disclosed that government has already released over 70 of the budgeted funds to the Ghana Statistical Service.
“With a budget of GH₵521.3million, government has already mobilised and disbursed GH₵467.2million for conducting the 2021 PHC – and will continue to make sure the needed funds are provided to ensure its successful implementation.”
Mr. Ofori-Atta assured that the National Census Steering Committee will continue to build the needed systems, pool together diverse expertise, mobilise resources and support strategies for conducting a successful Census.
The Minister for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Dan Botwe, said provision has been made to ensure the tools that will be used for the exercise are properly stored.
“I would like to indicate that the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development has supported the allocation of storage facilities in all the 272 statistical districts of the country.”
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, urged the public to cooperate fully in order to ensure a successful exercise.
“I would like to appeal to members of the public to bear with us, given the challenging times we find ourselves in, and support the Census process by welcoming Census officials to our communities and places.”
Government Statistician, Prof. Samuel Kobina Annim, said using the 30-day period until census night judiciously will help create awareness among the entire population on the important and key dates ahead.
“It is to also sensitise the public on key activities ahead on the enumeration exercise, which comprise training field enumerators and supervisors and listing structures.”