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Commission postpones Census

Commission postpones Census

The Census Commission, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister DemekeMekonnen, has postponed the much contested Fourth National Housing and Population Census until such time that the concerns raised around the Census are addressed, The Reporter has learnt.

It was on last week, on March 16, that the Commission had finally called for an urgent meeting to decide on the fate of the upcoming national census. The meeting was called following a report from a number of regional states about the challenges faced in the distribution of all the required census materials to their respective districts and zones, sources from Central Statistical Agency (CSA), told The Reporter.

 In this regard, officials from the Southern Regional State reported to the federal government that given a number of circumstances, particularly security, it will be difficult to conduct the upcoming census in their region.

Following this, the government has ordered the Agency to halt the distribution of all the required census materials to the regions. At the moment, Tigray is the only region which has taken delivery of the census materials sent from the agency.

Accordingly, the Agency ordered for all training materials distributed to the regions to be collected, pending the decision of the Commission on the new timetable.

After considering this, the Commission has decided to push the Census date which was scheduled for the first week of April, 2019.

It is to be recalled that the original timetable for the census was November, 2017. However, a number of factors such as security, displacement of people as well as a lengthy procurement process have hindered the government from conducting the census as per the initial time.The government was forced to reconsider the timeframe given the aforementioned factors; it was then that it was decided that it would take place in April, 2019.

“So far, the commission is yet to announce a new timetable,” officials from the Agency told The Reporter. The Agency, after assessing its current status, will propose a new date which the parliament is expected to endorse.

Ethiopia conducted its First National Census back in 1984. This particular Census was much inclusive than the previous population counting methods but still, only 81 percent of the country was covered by the Census given the then security concerns, particularly in the Northern Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has conducted its second and third population and housing census back in 1994 and 2007 despite the fact that the current FDRE Constitution dictatescensus to be conducted every 10 years.

It is to be recalled that the EPRDF-led government decided to conduct the third census in 2007. This was due to the pre and posts 2005’s general election controversy in which thousands of civilians and opposition political figures were arrested.

When it comes to the upcoming census, its preparation was officially commenced back in 2015 with a 3.5 billion birr financing secured from both the Ethiopian government and donors.

Unlike its predecessor, digital technology was deployed for the fourth census. In this regard, CSA purchased 180,000 tablets and 126,000 pieces of power banks at a total cost of 665 million birrfor which procurementwas delayed.