The Senate has disclosed that there is no provision in the 2024 budget proposal, which was submitted to the National Assembly for consideration, for the population and housing census.
A review of the proposed budget presented by President Tinubu for the 2024 fiscal year showed that there was no line in the budget of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning for the conduct of the national census.
There was also no provision for it in the budgets of the Presidency and the Office of the Chief of Staff.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja while presenting the report of the Senate Committee on National Population Commission to members of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Appropriations, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Population Commission, Abdul Ningi, complained that the NPC had spent over N200 billion on the planning of the census before it was postponed.
Mr. Ningi (PDP, Bauchi) explained that the nation will lose the financial resources that had been spent on organising the national census if the National Population Commission (NPC) is not allowed to continue with the exercise.
“They will appear tomorrow (Wednesday) with proper documentation of how much they need. If we don’t get the money, the nation will lose, the people will lose.
“The money spent for the preparation for the census will go down the drain, and it is a humongous amount of money, over N200 billion already spent. That is my take” Mr Ningi said.
In his reaction, Mr. Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Ogun West), Chairman of the Joint National Assembly Committee on Appropriations, pledged adequate financial allocation support for the Nigeria Population Commission (NPC) to conduct the headcount next year.
He assured that the NPC would be accommodated and get an allocation in the budget to conduct the census.
The senator implored concerned authorities in the NPC to appear before it and present requirements for the conduct of the census.
“Let me assure you that the country will not lose, and we are going to work very closely with them; that 25 percent component is included. We must find a way to accommodate it in this 2024 budget.
“We would like the agency to appear along with the chairman of the committee, a synopsis of the idea of what is really going on about the issue of census and whatever the issues are.
“I can assure that we will resolve it, and the population census will come up by the first quarter of 2024.”.