Govt requires US$85m for Census Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube

Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) needs US$85,5 million to successfully run the 2022 Population and Housing Census.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said Government had begun preparations for the 2022 Census, which is held in terms of the Census and Statistics Act.
The Act requires that a Census be held every 10 years and is due in August 2022.

Prof Ncube was speaking at the 2022 Population and Housing Census Advocacy and Resource mobilisation breakfast meeting in Harare yesterday.

The meeting was attended by representatives from United Nations, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), African Development Bank, World Bank and International Monetary Fund and Zimstat, among others.

It was meant to update developmental partners on the preparations, as well as explore resources mobilisation opportunities.

“The cost of the 2022 Population and Housing Census is expected to be covered by the Government of Zimbabwe,” said Prof Ncube.

“However, it is likely that there will be a shortfall over the lifespan of this project, hence the need to mobilise the additional resources required, for the 2022 Population Census project with an estimated cost of about US$85,5 million.”

The immediate objectives of the census, Prof Ncube said were to measure the population of Zimbabwe, its partial distribution among rural and urban areas, as well as the provinces, districts and wards.
“It will also determine the present demographic, social, economic and cultural characteristics of the population of Zimbabwe,” he said.

The long term objectives are to improve on knowledge on the social, demographic and economic characteristics of the population in order to enable the formulation and implementation of viable national development strategies.

Prof Ncube said Government appreciated the financial and technical support availed to Zimstat by UNFPA and other developmental partners in preparation for the 2022 Census.

“It is my fervent hope that with the commitment of other development partners, a multi-donor fund for the 2022 census will be established and managed by UNFPA, to which other development partners will contribute, based on an agreed framework, priorities and budget lines,” he said.

The main objective of the census is to provide information on demographics and social-economic characteristics of the population and households at national and sub-national levels.

Such data can be used for policy and programme planning, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of progress on various commitments, both national and international.

Zimstat board chair Prof Senelani Dorothy Hove-Musekwa said Government had pledged to contribute 80 percent of the budget.

“This is in addition to in-kind contribution in the form of administrative functions, logistical coordination, office space, telephone charges and salaries of staff,” she said.

“Financial support from development partners and the private sector is needed to complement Government resources.

“The highest budget amount of US$70,5 million that makes up 82,3 percent of the total budget will be required in the financial year of 2022.

“A large portion of this amount will be spent on the remuneration of personnel numbering about 50 000, who will be recruited for field work, (24 percent), accommodation for training of field staff (21 percent) and purchasing of 21 340 tablets, software and other equipment (12,5 percent).”

In addition, Prof Hove-Musekwa said, based on the current financial commitments from Government and UNFPA, a funding gap of US$14,8 million remained to be mobilised and should be raised to ensure that the census activities were carried out as scheduled and according to internationally acceptable standards.

“It is proposed to establish a multi-donor fund for the census, managed and led by UNFPA, to coordinate donor contributions,” she said.

“The fund will be designed in the modality of pooled funding, based on an agreed framework and budget lines, with an established reporting structure, information sharing and consultation on census progress.”
Stakeholders at the meeting proposed that Government should engage unemployed youths for the census exercise, which used to be done by civil servants.

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