At N283bn, Nigeria’s census costlier than that of India or China

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By Ademola Adegbamigbe
Eze Duru Iheoma
China and India have a staggering population of over one billion people each and they pretty much contribute a sizeable figure of the global population but somehow conducting a census in these countries is cheaper than than of Nigeria, which has a population of 180 million people.
When Eze Duru Iheoma, Chairman of the National Population Commission, NPC, visited President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday 10 August 2015, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, he told his host that the commission would require N273 billion to conduct another national census in 2016. He said that the commission would need N10 billion additionally to prepare for the census. This means NPC envisages a budget of N283 billion to count Nigerians.
Duru Iheoma tried to justify the request saying that a biometric-based census was being proposed because it would eliminate multiple and ghost respondents, while making the outcome easy to audit.
The estimate he gave has met with an air of disbelief since it went public, echoing a similar resentment when INEC announced it was spending N84billion to register voters in 2011.
Is N283 billion not too much for a census, even with all the biometric data infused in the enumeration?
The 2006 census cost the Federal government $266 million (about N53 billion now) and half of the money was provided by the European Union and other multilateral international donors.
Even if we assume cost to have doubled, the estimated cost should not be above $532 million dollars, not the bill of $1.4 billion presented to President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.
In the United States, budget estimates for each ten-year interval are always doubled. And thus the 2010 census in the country cost $13 billion, approximately $42 per capita, as against the $6 billion spent in 2000.
Even then, the US budget has always been questioned, even with many …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper