Neither obstruct census nor travel for enumeration

On June 14, 2021, our editorial appealed to the Ghanaian public to help make this year’s Population and Housing Census (PHC) a success.

 The chalking and listing of structures as part of the PHC started on June 14 and expected to end on June 23. The enumeration of people will start from the Census Night for people in transit and the homeless, with the general enumeration running from June 28 till July 11.

Today, we intend to write on the same subject matter but this reminding everyone that unlike voting in which some people can decide not to vote, for the PHC, no one can exempt himself or herself for everyone is enjoined by law to do so, including even children.

Besides, like in voting, anyone who tries to obstruct the work of enumerators would be arrested and prosecuted.

Thus, the Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kwabena Annim, has announced that those who obstruct census officers from doing their work would be sanctioned in accordance with the Ghana Statistical Service Legislation.

He says offenders could receive a penalty of not less than 200 penalty units (amounting to GH¢2,400) and or one-year imprisonment.

It is worthy of note that the Statistical Service Act 2019 (Act 1003) grants the legal authority for conducting this year’s Population and Housing Census and gives the Government Statistician the power to prevent all obstructions to conduct statistical surveys and census in Ghana.

That legal authority is very much needed because of the importance of the PHC.
The PHC provides the total number of persons and housing types and their characteristics in every Ghanaian town or village or a given small area to help the government for planning purposes.

Thus, the PHC has specific benefits for individuals, communities, businesses and the nation at large.
For instance, the PHC data includes socioeconomic and housing conditions that help to identify vulnerable individuals and households for targeted interventions.

Among others uses, the private sector, particularly businesses, need the data to plan their activities, which will be of benefit for the economic development of this country.

For communities, data from the housing census can, for example, be used by government agencies such as the Ministry of Works and Housing, Town and Country Planning Department, and the assemblies for making analysis or diagnosis of the housing situation both in terms of stock and quality to take further action.

At the national level, it aids policy makers to make realistic development plans such as the provision of pipe-borne water, and construction of roads, schools, hospitals and track the progress that have been made.

Development partners like international bodies and non-governmental organisations will also utilise the PHC data to plan for Ghana.

It is said that a successful census is a source of national pride, hence the Ghanaian Times shares the view that no one must be allowed to mar the success of this year’s PHC.

The records say in the last decade, almost all global and national development agendas have consciously called for inclusivity of all persons, especially the vulnerable, hence the phrase ‘Leave no one behind’, which is emphasised in the 2021 PHC.

The exercise will, for instance, provide an indispensable framework in using administrative data to track the national, regional and global development agendas such as the Coordinated Programme of Economics and Social Development Policies, the Africa Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, we cannot help but make it a success.

While we make that call, the Ghanaian Times wish to remind the public that unlike voter registration in which people can choose to go and register in their hometowns, for the census, one can do it anywhere in Ghana and so there is no need to travel to your home town.

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