Govt. will address challenges in census process
-VP Taylor assures
By Kruah Thompson
Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor assures Liberians that government is working with international partners to ensure adjustments are made in the 2022 National Population and Housing Census to address challenges encountered over the period.
VP Taylor explains that the process of census goes beyond government, therefore, it is an important tool for development that will be used to project what the country needs would be in the next 25 years.
Speaking at the Ministry of Information’s regular briefings on Thursday, November 17, Mrs. Taylor revealed that total budget allotted to ensure successful conduct of the census is 22 million United States Dollars (US$22 Million) covering every expense, including salary, tablets, car rentals, and fuel, among others.
She continues that the Government of Liberia had an initial responsibility of 37 million United States Dollars (US$37 Million) which they have paid in full, saying “The government does not owe anybody.”
She thanks the Government of Ghana, for assisting in the process by providing equipment (tablets) that are being used by enumerators in the field, while applauding international partners for all the training that had been taking place.
VP Taylor expresses enthusiasm that the government, under President Weah has done its best in having a media environment for information needed that has ensured an open field for all to discuss and give their opinions on matters of state.
She assures partners that the census implementation activities are on course, adding that the entire process is not just a day’s event but covers ten days.
VP Taylor details that there are two phases of the 2022 Census: “The first phase consists of numeration operation, mapping, and designing questionnaires for all pilot information, and the second phase is getting the enumerators into the field when the process began”, she explains.
However, she notes that when names of successful applicants were posted on the website of the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services or LISGIS, for short, many people complained that they were not posted to their rightful county, so to resolve this issue, Mrs. Taylor continues an independent team was set up to verify and make sure things are proceeding smoothly.
According to her, delay in the census process was due to a shift from the original listing of enumerators to making sure people from different counties of origin find it easier to move around and interact with residents.
The Vice President further reveals that LISGIS deployed 80 percent of enumerators in 160 districts with an enumerator assigned to 90 households in rural communities while in urban areas, one enumerator is responsible for 150 households, respectively.
Mrs. Taylor says the entire country enlisted 13,835 enumerators, along with 2,727 supervisors.
She underscores that those who signed up for this assignment have a responsibility to the State and should execute their duty with patriotism.
Commenting on criticism by former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai against President Weah’s current absence from the country amid the census, incumbent Vice President Taylor says a system is in place through the Constitution to govern the affairs of the country, whenever the President is away.
She claims that US$120,000 budget allotted for President Weah’s current travels abroad is in line with a standard that was established by the previous government, and the present administration has not changed it.
“Let me make it clear that this is not an ordinance that was squeezed or adjusted because we want to give President Weah money, but this is a standard that has been set forth by the previous government.”
VP Taylor notes that President Weah had some very important travel commitments that affect the country’s development and that the President will not be out of the country for two weeks, as has been said by the public.
Responding to recent protests by some employees at the Ministry of Information, demanding increments in their pay, the Vice President says all salaries remain the same, after the salary harmonization process was conducted, because President Weah wants additional funds for development and not just for paying salary.
However, she assures that if there are any instances where public workers would receive salary increments, that will be discussed and the cabinet will look at all implications during so. Editing by Jonathan Browne