The Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim joined a delegation from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) to pay a courtesy call on the Office of the National Chief Imam, at Fadama, in Accra.
It formed part of GSS’s engagement with the religious community on the 2020 Population and Housing Census (PHC).
Prof. Annim, who officially introduced himself and the team to the Muslim leadership and interacted with members of the community, was accompanied by the acting Deputy Government Statistician, Mr David Yenukwa Kombat, and the Director of Administration, Mr Kwadwo Asante-Mensah.
He there was the need for GSS to occasionally visit stakeholders, as the Population and Housing Census approached.
The delegation was received by the Advisory Committee of the Chief Imam, led by Alhaji Manna Gado Mohammed, on behalf of the National Chief Imam.
Prof. Annim said there was the need for collaborations between stakeholders in achieving success in the 2020 PHC.
He said some people would be ‘on the ground’ to serve as ambassadors in educating the public ahead of the census, to facilitate enumeration.
Prof. Annim said “the census is a huge operation and that the GSS cannot do it without the help of stakeholders”.
He indicated that the Office of the Chief Imam would be asked to support a national publicity committee that would be inaugurated as part of preparations towards the 2020 PHC.
Prof. Annim said this would enable people in the Zongo communities to have first hand information about the impending Population and Housing Census.
He asked the Office of the Chief Imam to encourage Zongo youth, who would meet the requirements for enumerators, to apply and support the national exercise.
Prof. Annim discounted messages on social media suggesting that Muslims wanted to be counted by only Muslims, and appealed to Islamic leadership to also help in debunking the claims.
The Secretary of Advisory Committee of the Office of the National Chief Imam, Alhaji Gado, expressed gratitude to the delegation for the visit.
He gave the assurance that the committee would ensure that members of Zongo communities were educated on the 2020 PHC.
Alhaji Gado advised the authorities to adequately train those who would be recruited as enumerators since the issue of nationality is a sensitive one in the Zongo communities.
He explained although some residents of Zongo communities have names that sound like foreign names, they are all Ghanaians.
Alhaji Gado cautioned that “interrogating them about their nationality can trigger provocation and mar the exercise”.
Mr Kombat explained that the census would involve all humans residing within the territories of Ghana regardless of their nationality.
The 2020 Population and Housing Census, which is slated for March 2020, with a budget of GH¢477 million, is expected to lead to the recruitment of about 70,000 enumerators across the country to support the exercise.