BARAKA POLICY INSTITUTE 6TH ANNUAL DEVELOPMENT LECTURES ON GHANA 2020 POPULATION CENSUS
A MESSAGE DELIVERED BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL POPULATION COUNCIL, DR LETICIA ADELAIDE APPIAH
THEME: THE COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITY FACTOR
I will begin by extending my heartfelt appreciation to the Conveners of the Baraka Policy Institute for the invitation extended to me as a Special Guest of Honour to this sixth BPI Annual Development Lectures. As the Executive Director of the National Population Council, I am of the firm believe that this platform provide a very important opportunity for us deliberate on the role of the community as a major stakeholder in the 2020 Population Housing Census. Population and Housing Census was first held in 1891 in Ghana, and have since been conducted every ten years with the exception of 1941 due to interruption by the World War II, but was held seven years after in 1984 (Ghana – Population and Housing Census 2000 – IHSN Survey Catalog). Census data, just like other surveys, are important starting points for development issues, and I am always extremely passionate about platforms such as this, to mainstream them into our national development discourse.
The Community/ Policy Development Factor
The Ghanaian populace have been an integral part of this exercise over these years, and I believe the 2020 Census will not be an exception. Indeed this is a very important national exercise which all citizens must take seriously and participate in fully. Census data have served as a baseline and a leading source of statistical information about the citizenry, hence the slogan, “Everyone Counts, Get Counted”. The value of accurate census data to the public cannot be over emphasised. Relying on accurate data goes beyond the simple fact of how many people live here. Policy makers have recognised that accurate census can provide other valuable information to improve the policy process. Policy makers at all levels of government as well as private businesses, household, researchers use census data.
Governments by the use of population data and its characteristics, are able to target and distribute resources toward a wide range of socio-economic developments at the local community level. It also serves an important tool for evidence based decision making, and shapes investment decisions by private businesses and builds confidence in the government and the economy. Census data is used in assessing economic well-being, assisting families and low-income populations the elderly, the physically challenged or disabled and in some cases veterans.
Accurate census data is critical to local government agencies such as; boards of schools, hospitals, etc. in determining their needs (e.g. Basic schools, JHS, SHS etc.). Accurate data is crucial for better planning and implementation, including educational training and provision of health services etc.
Accurate census data provides information on where people of different ages live, and helps businesses of all kinds to develop and market their products. (e.g. baby food, clothing and diapers). It helps provide relevant information for the provision of needs such as; large family amusement parks, TV programs for children, real estate needs and many more. Accurate census information on language spoken at home helps TV and radio stations define language service area and develop products and services tailored for those who speak languages other than English.
Forecast Demand Factor
Businesses uses Census data in forecasting demand, and thereby supplying products required by communities. This helps in making location decisions, and where to cite which type of business. This data also provides businesses with the required information to venture and invest in profitable sectors of the economy having in mind the availability of utilities etc. Disaster relief when planning or responding to disaster both at the individual and community level is enhanced by the availability, interpretation and use of census data.
It is therefore, important that as Ghana prepares to conduct the 2020 Population and Housing Census, all stakeholders, especially the citizenry are well informed and encouraged to cooperate and participate in the enumeration exercise in order to achieve the desired outcome. Indeed I believe that, with the required support given, the slogan of “Everyone Counts, Get Counted” will be achieved.