The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged all residents of Ghana to endeavour to get counted for the sake of the nation’s progress when the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) commences on Sunday, June 27.
The census data, he said, was important for the development and growth of Ghana, and “for us to achieve our vision of a brighter future for all our people and country”.
“It was, therefore, the civic duty of everyone to do all that was required to support the priority national exercise.”
The President made the call on Friday, May 28, when he launched the 30-day countdown to the 2021 PHC set to take off on the midnight of Sunday, June 27, 2021 across the 272 statistical districts across the country.
Field data collection will, however, start with the listing of structures from June 13. Persons on transit and in short stay institutions such as hotels, guest houses and hospital in-patients will also be counted on the census night.
However, the enumeration of persons in households and long stay institutions will commence from June 28 to July 11.
He said the data would help to actualise the betterment of the welfare of the vulnerable, as enshrined in the national constitution.
The media should, therefore, not create controversies around the process in order not to deter people from participating.
The exercise, which will be the first digital population and housing census to be undertaken in Ghana, will use technology to improve results accuracy and timeliness.
The census will provide important updated socio-economic, demographic and housing data to be used for decision-making and planning.
President Akufo-Addo said the data to be obtained from the exercise would be used to gauge the progress of the nation’s development agenda, enable the measurement of the social and economic status of Ghana, and give the needed input for charting the roadmaps for achieving national targets.
He disclosed that great effort had been made to ensure that enumerators were recruited from and would work in the communities they usually lived.
Government, he said, had taken all necessary steps to ensure that the census “takes place in a safe and secure environment and with minimum or no disruption to the daily activities of all”.
Security personnel would be detailed to maintain law and order during the exercise.
He, thus urged all persons, both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians residents, to be ready to welcome census officials into their communities and places of residence and provide the necessary information.
Noting the several concerns and sensitivities that people may have with the exercise, including boundary disputes and religious and political polarisations, the President stressed that the Census process was not an exercise that sought to divide or polarise Ghanaians “around matters that are important to us individually and collectively as a nation”.
He explained: “However, the Census remains an independent and professional process, whose outcomes will not be influenced by any of these.”
“Indeed, the Census process may help to resolve some or all of these issues. So please bear with the Census officials as they go about their business and provide complete and accurate information to them because they will count you as and where you are.”
“Remember, the information you provide to them is strictly confidential; it will be handled only by persons who have taken the Oath of Secrecy under the Statistical Service Act 2019 (Act 1003).”
President Akufo-Addo appealed to the media, including social media users, “not to create controversy and confusion around this important national development activity,” but convey only reliable information that would facilitate and improve the process.
“Census data will save lives and livelihoods…With that in mind, I want to encourage you to do the right thing and support publicity, education and advocacy activities by conveying only reliable information and facilitating constructive discussions on issues around the Census process,” he charged the media.
The President tasked all national and local government administrative structures to support the Census process without reservations.
He urged all political and religious leaders, the business community and private sector, and the civil society to use their various platforms to back the Census process.
He lauded former presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and John Dramani Mahama for separately sending out clear messages in support of the Census exercise, which, he said, was a testament of the non-partisan nature of the PHC.
“My government and Ghanaians fittingly thank them for their public service and for laying progressive foundations for evidence-driven decisions during their respective tenures of office,” he said.
The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) is the lead Agency to conduct the Census, as stipulated in Clause three of the Statistical Service Act, 2019 (Act 1003).
The 2021 Census was initially scheduled to be conducted in 2020 but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, said the GSS had prepared adequately and was on course to begin the collection of data on the census night.
He said logistics for the exercise would have been received by districts in all the 16 regions by the close of Saturday, May 28.
The 30-day countdown launch also kicks off the Service’s public engagement campaign to create awareness among the entire population on the importance and key dates on the up-coming census, as well as sensitize the public on key activities ahead of the enumeration exercise.