WITH a day remaining before the country runs into the National Population and Housing Census (PHC) exercise from tomorrow, political leaders, clerics and citizens alike are singing the same song, encouraging everyone to get ready to be counted.
The aim of the sixth population census since independence is to provide a clearer snapshot of the country’s demographics and living conditions.
Every ten years, Tanzania conducts the population count, and tomorrow’s census will be the sixth in a series that began in 1964. Other censuses were conducted in 1967, 1978, 1988, 2002, and 2012.
Population censuses are conducted to enable the country have data of its people. The data provide essential information on the population’s spatial distribution, age and sex structure, and other key social and economic characteristics.
For the first time, data will be collected digitally on devices such as tablets instead of on paper, which authorities say will ensure greater privacy and faster processing.
Going into the census tomorrow, Morogoro Catholic Bishop, Lazarus Msimbe Sunday called on clerics to continue supporting the government’s efforts to ensure the head count is conducted successfully.
Bishop Msimbe said that census remains the primary source of data for the government – both at the national and local level – that dictates development policies, plans and programmes and determines resource allocation.
“There is a need to get correct number of people living in the country to enable the government to improve provision of social services…my fellow clerics have a duty to ensure they encourage their congregates to effectively take part in the head count,” he said.
Co-chair of the National Census Committee, Zanzibar Second Vice-President Hemed Suleiman Abdulla, has insisted that the country is 99 per cent ready to conduct the head count.
He commended the private sectors’ contributions to the nationwide exercise that opens tomorrow and will last for a week.
“On behalf of the Zanzibar government and the census committee, I would like to thank the private sector for getting involved in the preparations for the exercise by providing financial and material support along with helping in the campaign to ensure all people are counted,” Mr Abdulla said.
He said commitment from both the governments and the private sector has made the preparations easier, adding that the census will be a big success.
Mr Abdulla emphasised to the people at the meeting with the private sector held at the ‘Sheikh Idris Abdulwakil Hall, Kikwajuni’ all people- whether individual or in group should continue promoting the upcoming census.
“We recognise the importance of NGOs, CSOs and other group because they play an important role to the national development. Therefore, your contribution is highly appreciated,” he said.
Mr Hemed explained that the preparations for the census have been successful because of the contribution of equipment and financial resources from the members of the business community and other stakeholders, who have been in the forefront in supporting the government’s programmes.
“We keep on reiterating that the census is highly needed to enable the governments, planners, development partners and other stakeholders to obtain reliable data for social, economic and political planning,” he said.
In Zanzibar, the Office of the Chief Government Statistician (OCGS), which coordinates the planned PHC in the Isles, says the exercise should not in any way affect other businesses.
“Census does not mean stopping other businesses, just make sure you are counted and respond well to questions from enumerators,” Chief Government Statistician Mr Salum Kassim Ali emphasised.
He said this at a press conference held at the ‘Takwimu House’, Mazizini area to update the public about the final preparations for the much-awaited exercise tomorrow, and that they have beaten 99 per cent of the required preparations.
On his side Morogoro Urban Member of Parliament, Abdulaziz Abood implored people in the region and all Tanzanians to fully take part in census to support the government’s endouvours in bringing development to the country.
Mr Abood made the call at the public meeting held in Morogoro yesterday to sensitise the public to be ready and take part in census.
In Katavi, Regional Commissioner (RC) Ms Mwanamvua Mrindoko has called for the citizens’ effective participation in tomorrow’s population count to enable the government to properly plan the allocation of development resources.
“No one in the region should be left behind uncounted. The government needs cooperation from all members of the communities to make Tuesday (tomorrow) population count a big success,” she emphasised.
She further said that preparation for the census in the region has been completed by 98 per cent.
“In fact, we are ready for the population count as 98 per cent of citizens in the region are aware that Tuesday is a census day …the remaining 2 per cent will be accomplished on the day of exercise,” noted the RC.