The Central Statistical Agency (CSA) announced this week that the displacement of thousands of Ethiopians, as a result of the recent Somali-Oromia boarder conflict, will not affect the process of the upcoming Fourth National Housing and Population Census.
It is to be recalled that, the Census was originally scheduled to be conducted on November 19, 2017, and later postponed to February 2018.
During a press briefing given by the Agency’s officials this week, the new timeframe of the census was confirmed to be February 11, 2017.
According to CSA’s director general, Biratu Yigezu, a long overdue logistical procurement process for the census as well as preparation of census map caused the extension.
Preparations for the overdue census officially commenced in 2015 with financing secured from both the Ethiopian government and donors.
With these funds, the CSA purchased 180,000 tablets and 126,000 pieces of power banks at a total cost of 665 million birr.
The procurement process, which took longer than expected, was surrounded by controversies. Bidding companies during the purchase process were complaining about alleged irregularities along the way.
Finally, two global IT equipments suppliers – Lenovo and Huawei – managed to win the bid to supply the equipment.
According to the original plan, delivery of the equipment was to be made by May 2017, but this was postponed following a delay in the purchase process.
From the total purchase, the first batch of the supply of the digital computer tablets and power banks has already reached Bole Airport. From the total supply, 120,000 tablets and 180,000 power banks had already been delivered by suppliers.
The supply, however, needs to pass through all the required custom process before reaching to the hands of CSA.
Following this, software applications have to be uploaded in all tablets, testing of the devices has to e conducted and training of personnel who will be involved in the census will be conducted. The trainings are expected to take at least two months.
The government has allocated 3.5 billion birr budget for the Census. Close to 190,000 experts, coordinators as well as supervisors will participate.
As far as the movement of people from one place to another is concerned, Biratu said that in principle people has to be counted in their original home places.
So when it comes to the Oromia-Somali Regional State border case Biratu hope that the two regions and the federal government will resolve the situation.
Our Agency deal with technical issues, he said.
He, however, stressed that no one will be left uncounted no matter the case.