2024 budget: FG earmarks another N693.3 million for postponed census

THE Federal Government has proposed an additional N693.3 million for the suspended national population and housing census in the 2024 budget.      

Findings by The ICIR showed that this is the third time a budget for conducting a census has appeared in the country’s budget since 2022. 

The last time Nigeria held its population census was in 2006. The exercise showed that the country had over 140 million people. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), population censuses should be conducted at least every ten years.

However, 17 years after the last census, Nigeria has failed to organise a new one despite budgetary provisions.

The National Population Commission (NPC) is responsible for conducting census and managing other population issues in Nigeria.

The 2022 budget had N177.33 billion approved for a national population and housing census. When the first approval was made, The ICIR reported how the Federal Government announced plans to conduct the census. The exercise was eventually postponed. 

There were plans to organise another census in 2023, but the exercise was deferred three times. 

In the 2023 budget, former President Muhammdu Buhari approved N10.52 million for conducting a census. The commission later requested N869 billion to carry out the exercise, which was scheduled to be held between March 29 and April 2.

Due to the general elections, the census was postponed to May 3 and May 7.

Later, NPC said it had received N200 billion to enable it to prepare for the exercise. The Federal Government announced an additional N2.8 billion for the commission to procure some software for the census. 

Again, the census was put off.

Given the government’s already approved funding, it was widely expected that Tinubu, who took over from Buhari on May 29, would have announced a new date for the exercise. 

The ICIR reports that the Federal Government approved N202.9 billion in 2023, in addition to what the commission had received, for conducting a census. 

This organisation reported how the census postponements threatened the accuracy of demographic data in Nigeria. 

A report said that the Senate Committee on Appropriations had expressed displeasure when it was informed that there was no census fund in the 2024 budget.

Year NATIONAL POPULATION AND HOUSING CENSUS PREPARATION OF EAD CONCEPT MANUAL CENSUS IN SCHOOLS
2024 proposed budget 693,300,000 200,000 5,000,000
2023 10,520,000 2,375,000 30,000,000
2022 177,331,774,178 2,375,000 95,000,000
2021 No budget 2,500,000 642,036

Other line items receiving allocations

The ICIR reviewed the budget approval from 2021 to the proposed 2024 budget and observed that line items like census in schools and preparation of EDA concept manual had also been receiving allocation. 

According to NPC’s website, Enumeration Area Demarcation (EDA) is the process of dividing the country into smaller units with clearly defined and identifiable boundaries, called Enumeration Areas (EAs). This is done so that there is no overlap or gap between them.

The ICIR observed that the Federal Government approved N2.5 million to prepare the EDA concept manual in 2021. Also, in 2022, another N2.38 million was approved in the budget. In the 2023 budget, the commission got N315,945 for the same item, and in the 2024 proposed budget, N200,000 was earmarked for the project. 

Also, the Federal Government approved N642,036, N95 million and N30 million for a census in schools in 2021, 2022 and 2023, respectively. Another N5 million has been proposed in the 2024 budget for the same line item.

NPC’s 2024 budget 

The commission has N12.77 billion in the proposed 2024 budget. This is 0.05 per cent of the proposed N27.5 trillion budget. 






     

     

    Of the amount, N10.82 billion would be spent on personnel costs, N818.93 million on overhead, and N1.13 billion on capital expenditure.

    A recent publication by the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that the projected population of Nigeria is 216,783,381, comprising 108,350,410 males and 108,432,971 females as of 2022.

    Keynote on this report

    The report highlights what the Nigerian government has budgeted for the suspended national population and housing census since 2021.

    The ICIR also reports that the National Population Commission has executed several programmes preceding the exercise, such as the enumeration area demarcation, trial census, and training of census officials among others.

    Kehinde Ogunyale tells stories by using data to hold power into account. You can send him a mail at [email protected] or Twitter: Prof_KennyJames

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