BudgIT, a leading public data organization raising active citizens’ participation in nation-building and government-citizen communication for good governance and accountability, has urged the National Population Commission to publish the breakdown for the N896 billion 2023 National Population Census budget.
Recall that earlier in March, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, had said a total of N869 billion ($1.88 billion) would be required for the exercise. This figure includes post-census activities. According to him, N626 billion ($1.36 billion) will be used for the census at $6 per citizen, and N243 billion ($527 million) will be used for post-census activities up to 2025. While the census exercise is crucial for planning a progressive and sustainable development—which is not limited to knowing the revenue estimation, economic needs, unemployment level, living standard, and policies—there is a need for the commission to provide details of its budget, to ensure public transparency and accountability.
In a statement by Nancy Odimegwu on Monday, BudgIt communications associate noted that, “To this end, we have requested the complete breakdown of the 896 billion for the National Population Census exercise—the amount released, utilized, and the cashback—following the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 2011. We have also requested that the commission make available the list of states and local government areas that would receive these allocations.”
The statement quoted Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa, Ag Head, Open Government and Institutional Partnership to have added that, “The country’s resources are scarce at this time, and we do not believe this is the best use of N896bn at these difficult times considering Nigeria’s current debt profile, which stands at N44trn. The 2023 elections have just ended, and Nigeria could draw some wisdom from it to help save costs during this critical period. The Nigerian government should work on reducing the multidimensional poverty of over 133 million people, and investments that will significantly reduce these numbers should be prioritized and not wasted on frivolities.”
“Therefore, we call on the National Population Commission, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and Planning to make this information available on its website for easy accessibility for the citizens and stakeholders.”