It’s an offence to refuse to provide data for PHC – GSS

The Head of Census Publicity, Education and Advocacy of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Mr Francis Nyarkoh-Larbi, has said it is an offence for any individual in the country to refuse to provide data for the Population and Housing Census (PHC).

Also, he said, it was against the law to obstruct or prevent Census Officials from picking data for the PHC as well as preventing somebody from providing data for the exercise.

Speaking to the Ghanaian Times via telephone in Accra yesterday about the law supporting this year’s PHC, Mr Nyarkoh-Larbi said it was a legal obligation and civil responsibility for every individual to provide data for the exercise.

He said the GSS had the mandate under the GSS Act 2019 (Act 1003) to go to court to compel people who refuse to provide data for the exercise.

“GSS doesn’t want to get to this point or use this option to compel people to provide data for the exercise since it doesn’t bring any benefit to the Service or the country,” Mr Nyarkoh-Larbi,  said.

He further said the GSS Act empowered the Government Statistician to enter any premises and pick information for the conduct of the PHC or for the compilation of official statistics.

Thus, the Head of Census Publicity, Education, and Advocacy of GSS, said the officials engaged for the PHC had been clothed with the powers to enter any premises and pick information for the exercise.

Mr Nyarkoh-Larbi said the GSS would not publish any information given by individuals about the PHC which would identify their identity, saying it would be against the law for the GSS to do.

He said the data which would be picked from individuals for the exercise would be anonymised, meaning that “anything that will provide clue to the identity of the data provider would be removed.”

For the PHC officials, Mr Nyarkoh-Larbi said they were prohibited from divulging the PHC data to any individual.

He  further said the census officials could not use the information picked for the PHC against those who provided the information in court.

“The GSS law enjoins all census officials to keep any information they gather through the Census confidential and not discuss it with anybody or put it into writing,” he said.

Mr Nyarkoh-Larbi, however, said census officials could only divulge data to another census official if they data were to aid them to execute the PHC assignment.

This year’s census would begin on June 27, which is the Census Night, the reference point for the census, and end on July 11, 2021.

The last time Ghana conducted a Population and Housing Census (PHC) was in 2010 in which the country’s population was estimated at 24.7 million.

Among others benefit, this year’s PHC would provide data for planning and policy purposes.

The Listing of structures (mark houses) across the country to pave way for the 2021 PHC started on June 14, 2021 and would end on June 26, 2021.

So far, according to the GSS, more than 11 million structures had been counted since the exercise started about a week ago.

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