Monrovia – The Plenary of the House of Representatives has passed a joint resolution forwarded to it by the Liberian Senate calling for the National Population and Housing Census (NPHC) to be conducted this year.
The House made the decision based on the recommendations of its Joint Committee on Good Governance and Government Reform, Elections and Inauguration and Judiciary tasked to review the resolution from the Liberian Senate. The resolution, as passed, sets October 24 to November 7, 2022 as the new date for the 2022 National Population and Housing Census.
The Committee, headed by Rep. Larry P. Younquoi (District #8, Nimba County), in its report, said it held consultative meetings with the Liberia Institute of Statistic and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) and the country’s development partners represented by UNFPA.
And during these meetings, all parties agreed that given the significance of the NPHC, it should be held this year.
The committee added that based on the assurance of development partners that they are prepared to work with the Liberian Government to ensure the census is held before December 2022, it was Prudent to recommend the House to concur with the Senate’s resolution.
The latest decision climaxed the legislative procedures laid out for the conduct of the census. The joint resolution will now be forwarded to the President for his signature and be printed into hand bill to become a law.
It comes as Liberia’s donor partners have warned that the country stands to lose US$8.8 million if the census is not conducted this year.
In a leaked communication to President George Weah by the donors including Sweden, Irish Aid, the World Bank, ECOWAS and the United Nations, they warned that “If the census is postponed to March 2023, the obligatory payments to census staff would be US$695,500. If the census is conducted in November 2022, staff costs would be significantly reduced to US$139,100, and if conducted in December 2022, the cost would be USS278, 200.”
This communication may have prompted President Weah to recall the Legislature to approve the conduct of the NPHC this year.
In his communication recalling the lawmakers, the President said, all was set for the conduct of the census and there was no need to delay as it will lead to several repercussions.
He said substantial financial resources for the census have been appropriated, thanks to the Government of Liberia and its partners. In addition, pre-census activities including the geographical mapping and pilot census have been conducted with results informing the preparation of the actual census.
To ensure that the census is digital, the Government of Ghana, through a south-south cooperation, loaned 21,000 electronic data collection tablets and accessories to the Government of Liberia through LISGIS. These gadgets are to be returned at the end of October 2022.
With these achievements, further postponement of the census from October 2022 would have far reaching consequences for the Census Project, the President indicated.