Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin, acting chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), on Tuesday, disclosed that the commission is waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the new national policy on population, so they can conduct a new national census.
Salu-Hundeyin said this on Tuesday, at the BusinessDay 2020 Nigeria Economic Outlook Conference (NEOC 2020) with the theme: “Nigeria’s Prosperity Ahead 2030: Population, Data, Productivity”, which took place in Lagos.
“The present government is interested in conducting a census and President Buhari is willing to sign the national population policy to enable the commission conduct the census.
“The census will be conducted because the President believes in it, but the commission is only awaiting his proclamation; once this is made, we are doing everything possible for proper execution,” she said.
According to her, it is important that the country conducts a census, as the last one was conducted in 2006, and that the estimated population figure of over 200 million is no longer usable for planning in the present economy.
The NPC boss said no country can grow without data, and what it is in population, is demographic data.
“The mother of all data is census; data is oxygen and that is why other countries conduct theirs within five years interval, but in Nigeria, statistics show that it has been conducted within 10 years intervals.
“Regrettably, Nigeria has held no census since 2006; whatever population figure we hear or see presently is based on estimation,” she also said.
She noted that census data is beyond headcount, because it reveals the country’s poverty level, available health and education centres, facilities, as well as current and future investment, which she stated is key to the success of an economy.
She said the proposed census, when conducted, must be backed by the type of technology initiated by the commission.
Salu-Hundeyin said census is financially overwhelming, but not as much as people think.
She said the cost cannot be avoided because it contributes to the country’s financial growth.
“We need data, as it will help policy makers to plan for health, education and infrastructural development and also curb corruption,” she added.