NEWS COMMENTARY DISCUSSES THE BENEFITS OF CONDUCTING A POPULATION AND HOUSING CENSUS TO GHANA’S DEVELOPMENTAL AGENDA.
On Sunday, June 27, 2021, Ghana begins a historic moment by commencing the 2021 Population and Housing Census, which has been described as a comprehensive and rich data to have in a country at a specific point in time. Vice President Bawumia has been quoted as saying that data today is more valuable than oil. In fact, data is used for a variety of public functions, which include political apportionment, planning and funds allocation. Without data, it will be difficult for the authorities to concretely, or for that matter accurately, determine the exact numbers in making allocations to a Metropolitan, Municipal, or District Assembly to facilitate development. This is why it is very critical for the people to support the process and commit to ensuring that the exercise is successful.
Still on the benefits of conducting census, data is very critical to the work of the private sector. Specifically, the private sector employs census data for planning and marketing purposes. In fact, without accurate information, it will be difficult for most strategic companies to make projections on incomes, expenditure, profits and what have you to determine sustainability and viability. More importantly, Social Science researchers and media use the data to monitor demographic trends and illustrate social change. Some of the demographic data are the sharing of important information on predictions and news in general.
Today, journalists are switching from verbose writing to data journalism, by using infographics to illustrate their point, and also explain policy trends and changes for duty bearers and policymakers to tap into, for development. Furthermore, engaging data keeps communities connected to the developmental processes and agenda. After all, development is about the people and when the people are properly engaged and believe that they have a platform for discourse, they can contribute positively to their community and advance the country’s development. A Population census is helpful in obtaining the number of people who live in a country and the structure of the society.
Also, more importantly, it helps to determine taxable adults. In other words, the Population census helps to determine the number of people who can pay taxes which helps to estimate the amount of revenue that can be obtained in a year. Speaking of revenue, at a time when COVID-19 has caused gaping holes in most economies revenue estimates and quantum are very important to keep the developmental wheels of the nation turning. Furthermore, Census is the basis for reviewing the country’s progress in the past decade, while monitoring the ongoing Schemes of duty bearers, and most importantly plan for the future, this is a planning Ghana cannot afford to ignore.
Every 10 years, timely and accurate statistical information is collected to guide national development. It is, therefore, heart-warming to note that in a countdown to the Census night, Vice President Bawumia impressed upon MMDCEs and other stakeholders to support the Ghana Statistical Service to successfully conduct the 2021 Population and Housing Census. Data is a powerful tool for creating social change, but it can fail to deliver if it lacks accuracy. Already, we are told more than ¢500 million have been dedicated for the conduct of the exercise. Remember, this is taxpayer’s money, and the onus lies on all every Ghanaians to ensure success of the exercise.
Come June 27, remember to join the campaign of the Population and Housing Census to ensure that you are counted, because you count! so get counted!
BY REBECCA EKPE, A JOURNALIST.