Reps to investigate N200 billion spent on postponed 2023 census; urges Tinubu to fix new date

ABUJA- The House of Representatives says it will investigate the N200 billion expended on the postponed 2023 census by the National Population Commission.

The resolution to investigate the NPC’s expenditure followed the unanimous adoption of a motion co-sponsored by Dominic Okafor (APGA-Anambra) and Patrick Umoh (APC-Akwa Ibom) at plenary on Wednesday.

Mr Okafor, who moved the motion, said, “Census provides accurate population data crucial for development planning, policy formulation, resource allocation, and government programme implementation.”

He said a census was most necessary, especially at a time when the federal government, in conjunction with state governments, was working on giving palliatives to vulnerable citizens and also planning other social services.

The legislator said the NPC had the mandate to conduct periodic census surveys and other methods to enumerate the country’s population and to provide data for national planning and economic development.

Mr Okafor noted that a national census was last conducted in Nigeria in 2006 and the 2023 census, which was to have been scheduled in May 2023, was postponed by the commission.

According to him, the data collected in the 2006 census is far from reality today and cannot validly form a solid base for the formation of national economic policies that will aid the federal government in administering viable national planning.

“The commission has admitted to having spent N200 billion of the N800 billion budgeted for the planning mid-execution of the 2023 population and housing census, which was postponed. The financial investment in 2023 population census planning would have improved economic planning and distribution of palliatives in the country,” the lawmaker explained.

Mr Okafor added, “If the population and housing census fails to take place within 12 months, the information gathered across the country would become stale, a waste of resources, and the country would have to increase costs of gathering fresh information.”

NPC chair Nasir Kwarra had expressed readiness to conduct a population and housing census during a visit to President Bola Tinubu on July 6.

The parliament urged Mr Tinubu to declare a date for the 2023 population and housing census to facilitate accurate economic planning.

The house urged the federal government to, upon fixing a date, constitute census tribunals in designated centres in accordance with section 28 of the National Population Commission Act, 2004.

The lawmakers charged the NPC to continue preparing for the 2023 population and housing census.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas, mandated the Committee on Population to investigate the money expended on the postponed 2023 population.

He asked the committee to liaise with the NPC to ensure a successful population and housing census when Proclaimed. (NAN)

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