BY ANIN AGYEI–
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, Accra, Ghana- THE DRIVE to inspire the involvement of all stakeholders in the 2020 Population and Housing Census (PHC) was given further boost last week when the Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim paid a courtesy call on the National Chief Imam.
Being the first in a series of visits to religious leaders in the country, the visit was for him to officially introduce himself and his team to the Muslim leadership and interface with the community through the office of the National Chief Imam.
Prof. Annim was accompanied by the Acting Deputy Government Statistician, Mr. David Yenukwa Kombat and the Director of Administration, Mr. Kwadwo Asante-Mensah.
He said, “the visit goes beyond the population and housing census” and expressed the view that, as an agency responsible for a critical service like statistics in the country, there was the need to occasionally, pay visits to stakeholders that they engage with especially as the census approaches.
On the importance of collaborations with stakeholders in achieving success in the 2020 PHC, the government statistician suggested that there had to be people on the grounds to serve as ambassadors in educating the communities ahead of the census so that it facilitates enumeration.
He said “the census is a large operation and that the GSS cannot do it without the help of all stakeholders.”
He hinted that, as part of preparatory activities towards the 2020 PHC, a national publicity committee would be inaugurated very soon and the office of the Chief Imam would be invited to support the work of that committee so that the zongo communities would have first- hand information about census activities.
The professor also informed the office of the Chief Imam to encourage the zongo youth who meet the requirements for enumerators to apply to support the national exercise.
He hinted that there were unauthorized persons circulating information on social media about Muslims wanting to be counted by only Muslims.
He implored the Islamic leadership to assist GSS in educating their members that this was not the case.
He added that in the enumeration process, language is a key factor and that, part of the criteria in selecting enumerators for specific areas are familiarity of language and the locality.
Responding to the delegation, the Advisory Committee of the Chief Imam, led by Alhaji Gado expressed gratitude for the visit, and assured the delegation that they will ensure that members of their communities were adequately informed on the census processes.
The Secretary of the Advisory Committee, Alhaji Gado advised that the recruited enumerators must be trained to contain provocation, since the issue of nationality is a sensitive one in the zongo communities.
He explained further that, although some residents of those communities have names that sound foreign, they are all Ghanaians. Interrogating them about their nationality could trigger provocation and mar the exercise.
He was assured by Mr. Kombat that, the census will capture all humans residing within the territories of Ghana, regardless of their nationality.
The 2020 Population and Housing Census which is slated for March 2020 has a budget of GH¢477 million and is expected to lead to the recruitment of about 70,000 enumerators across the country to support the exercise.
BY ANIN AGYEI, NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, AFRICA CORRESPONDENT
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