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2012 population census right on track

2012 population census right on track

While in Dodoma recently, the National Bureau of Statistics Director General, Dr Albina Chuwa, told parliamentarians with a more detailed questionnaire it will be easier for the bureau to collect more comprehensive data and not just the number of people in the country.

These areas include agriculture, land, livestock and fisheries, which will provide the government, with statistics that will enable it make proper developmental planning in the country as a whole.

“The main reason for this is to have a broader outcome that covers many development areas, so that the government and you the legislators will know which areas need concerted efforts to bring about sustainable development,” she explained. Dr Chuwa also noted that this will also place the government in a better position to evaluate the stage at which Tanzania has reached in implementing the globally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

She noted that getting accurate and useful data will not be easy without asking questions that can be understood easily by the population. She noted that the bureau has started carrying out sensitization programmes in the media to prepare the population for the census. She however implored the MPs to assist the bureau in bringing awareness of the imminent population and housing census to their constituencies.

Members of the parliament agreed on the issue of public education, especially for people living in remote areas, who do not understand the concept of being counted. They noted that there are people in some rural areas of the country who still run way from vehicles and some due to traditional beliefs do not want to be counted.

They agreed that such people need special attention in the awareness programme so that they can be informed the importance of the population and housing census in the development of their areas and their lives. The 2012 Population and Housing Census will be the fifth since independence. Previous censuses were carried out in 1967, 1978, 1988, and 2002.

This year’s census is also unique because the questionnaires will for the first time include details of Tanzanians in the Diaspora. Dr Chuwa noted that data collected in the censuses have been extensively used in evaluating the impact of government policies and programmes on improving the standard of living of the population particularly the reduction of poverty.

“This one will be more detailed hence give room for government to evaluate its development programmes and put more effort where it’s needed,” she added. In its pilot census conducted in October last year in Arusha, Coast, Dar es Salaam, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Mara, Mtwara, Njombe, Pemba North and Urban West in Zanzibar revealed a number of challenges that the government will address to ensure the August 2012 census is smooth.

One of the major challenges is the increase by 27.1bn/- of the initial budget for carrying out the population and housing census from 114.4bn/- to 141.5bn/-. The Minister for Finance, Mr Mustafa Mkulo, attributed the increase of the budget to the rise in fuel prices in the world market.

He said other challenges experienced during the pilot census conducted last year, included, increased number of the days for counting people from seven to 12 days and the increase in the period needed for training clerks and supervisors. “In this regard, the government went through the census budget afresh, and it is estimated that the census exercise will cost the 141.5bn/- for the whole five year period of 2010/2011 - 2014/2015,” Mr Mkulo explained.

Mr Mkulo noted that the 27.1bn/- will be covered by cutting down on operating costs in the census budget. This, he said, will include cutting down on allowances of census committees at the national to district levels, to the tune of 2bn/-, reduce some promotional items including khangas and vitenges to the tune of 210m/-.

Government trucks will be used to transport census equipment from headquarters to the districts and back instead of hiring them, which is estimated to reduce the costs to a tune of 1.5bn/-. This move will only reduce the costs by 3.7bn/-, the remaining 23bn/-, will be spread out to the whole census budget which will be divided within five financial years, 2012 to 2014/2015.

In the census budget 77 per cent is being covered by the government, while the remaining 23 per cent comes from the development partners,” Mr Mkullo said. Development partners who contributed to the budget are United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the government of Britain through the Department for International Development (DfID) and the government of Japan.

Mr Mkulo informed members of the two Committees that development partners have already contributed 26.7bn/- which was spent on mapping out the census areas, the purchase  of vehicles, taking of aerial pictures, purchase of census equipments, and payments of modern technology of scanning and input of census data into computers.

“The government, in the financial year 2011/2012 set aside 54.6 bn/-which is ring faced, for the purpose of preparation of the census,” Mr Mkulo noted. It was also noted that preparations towards the August 2012 Census are at its final stages, and are set to be completed by March this year.

Already, 26 regions out of 30 have been mapped out, including four new regions of Geita, Simiyu, Katavi and Njombe. For Dar es Salaam, the exercise of mapping out the Population and Housing Census areas will be completed in May this year. “The reason for setting the deadline for Dar es Salaam in May is because residency in the city changes frequently,” Mr Mkulo explained.

Tanzania conducts its population census once every 10 years. The country’s population, which was eight million at the time of independence in 1961, is currently over 40 million. The Population and Housing Census experts met with members of two parliamentary committees; the Finance and Economic Affairs and Social Welfare and Community Development.

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