Sierra Leone President Bio declares December 9th Census Night

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 November 2021:

President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone last Friday announced that Statistics Sierra Leone will conduct a two-week counting of everyone in the country from the 10th to the 23rd of December 2021.

Statistics Sierra Leone will also collect administrative, demographic, social, and economic information on all households and persons.

“Our development partners and my government are firmly committed to ensuring objectivity, transparency, and professionalism throughout the census exercise. I therefore, urge every citizen to participate fully in this exercise.

“I therefore declare the night of 9th December 2021 as Census Night, and the 10th of December 2021, as the date for the start of electronic enumeration for the 2021 Mid-Term Population and Housing Census for Sierra Leone,” the President said.

Describing the census as the country’s first ever digital census to be conducted, President Bio said that the census is also the first ever Mid-Term Census to be conducted in the country in order to rectify errors detected in the 2015 Population and Housing Census.

Speaking in a live nationwide broadcast, this is what President Bio said:

“Fellow Sierra Leoneans, in July of 2020, I proclaimed the conduct of a Mid-Term Population and Housing Census to be held in December 2020. That exercise was postponed to 2021 due to the global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. International technical experts could not travel and the shipment of 20,000 electronic tablets from Kenya was delayed.

Throughout this process, Sierra Leone has received significant support from our friends and partners, especially the President and Government of the Republic of Kenya, the World Bank, UNFPA, UNECA, UNICEF, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, and the Mano River Union.

From within Sierra Leone, we have also received tremendous support from the Parliament, Political Parties, Paramount Chiefs, Local Councils, the Statistics Sierra Leone Council, Civil Society Organisations, and the Media.

In readiness, I am informed by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development that Statistics Sierra Leone has completed and updated digital cartographic maps, conducted a digital pilot census to gain experience and learn lessons, and set up solid technological infrastructure and processes for managing data.

Statistics Sierra Leone has also recruited and will soon commence the training of 15,000 field staff, including enumerators, supervisors, IT, and administrative support staff.

Fellow Sierra Leoneans, we are conducting this 2021 Mid-Term Population and Housing Census for three key reasons:

a. To correct the anomalies of the 2015 Population and Housing Census;

b. To provide credible and reliable data that will help us plan, implement, and monitor development interventions by the Government of Sierra Leone and our development partners in respect of the current Medium-Term National Development Plan 2019-2023 and the follow up national Plan;

c. To prepare us for the next Population and Housing Census.

This will be the first-ever digital census in Sierra Leone. Our country will thus join other African nations like Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and Liberia in using technology and digitalisation to conduct a census.

The digital technology used will ensure that households, villages, and towns that were not reached in previous censuses are reached this time and enumerated. This approach also assures that all inhabitants and housing structures throughout Sierra Leone will be fully covered. Digital data generated therefore will provide an excellent sampling frame for conducting subsequent statistical surveys.

Additionally, statistical indicators derived from the 2021 Mid-Term Population and Housing Census will also show the progress we have made since the 2015 Census and what challenges need to be addressed in the overall development of our country.

Statistics Sierra Leone will therefore commence a two-week electronic enumeration of everyone in the sovereign territory of Sierra Leone from the 10th to the 23rd of December 2021. During the census exercise, Statistics Sierra Leone will collect administrative, demographic, social, and economic information on all persons.

We need to know how many people live in Sierra Leone and where they live. By knowing where people live, what their living conditions are, and what development challenges they face, my government and development partners can better plan and implement investments in their communities.

Our development partners and my government are firmly committed to ensuring objectivity, transparency, and professionalism throughout the census exercise. I, therefore, urge every citizen to participate fully in this exercise.

I, therefore, declare the night of 9th December 2021 as Census Night, and the 10th of December 2021, as the date for the start of electronic enumeration for the 2021 Mid-Term Population and Housing Census for Sierra Leone.

I thank you and may God Bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.”

4 Comments

  1. Curious as its sounds, but that is the experience of many fellow Sierra-leoneans that are qualified for a job, or in some case proven to be extremely reliable, efficient, and dedicated in trying to make a change or contribution towards our countrys development, by applying for upcoming vacancies on government website, only to be denied that job opportunity, because of nepotism, political affiliations, and tribalism. In other words, it says a great deal about our countrys strategy for planning and development.Whilst majority of advanced economies are trying to attract people of high calibre, to help them develop their nation. In Sierra Leone, is not what you know, is who you know, that will propelle you to aquire jobs, otherwise was beyond your reach, if you were put through the interview process of a job application, with all the protocols put in place for candidates to go through before they secure such a job.

    To put it into context, if Elon Musk the South African – born entrepreneur, who confounded the electronic – payment firm, PayPal and formed Spacr X lunching space vehicles, and one of the world richest men, had migrated or was born in Sierra Leone, he would never have realised his dreams. There are lot of Elon Muskses in Sierra Leone, but they have been denied the right to fulfill their dreams because of the accident of birth. Tribalism and corruption is two of th national threats facing our country. As Ms Kargbo pointed out, she knows there is a wall that is stopping her getting the position she applied for in the census bureau, but she is frustrated, because no one can explain to her why she can’t get the job. The system is skewed against her. Not because of her qualifications but her name. And if you magnified that WHY? with no clear understanding why someone who is less qualified, but have the right surname is getting that job, you try to get a picture why our country is not develop.

    Although it might not be highlighted in the job application forms, which you as a candidate is not aware of when you put your name forward and asked to be considered for such existing position , in today’s Bio’s Sierra Leone, your name, tribal make up, regional and political affiliations is far more important than securing a graduate degree and crossing your fingers and hoping against hope that you might just be offered that job. Even people who were employed before he came to power, with the wrong surname have been either sacked or forced to retire early. The military, police, prison service, the justice , and experienced public civil servants. Bio’s is an octopus. His tentacles is everywhere. Even down to who will be the local primary school head. Talk of a control freak, you can’t get better than Bio.

  2. @Mohamed Fatu Kargbo, interesting that you brought up the issue of recruitment malfeasance taking place at Statistic Sierra Leone for the upcoming census. The youth leader in my chiefdom along with a few others, brought the same issue to my attention a few days ago. Just as you mentioned, i was told, you have to bribe your way or have political connection in order to be shortlisted for any position regarding the census.

    So if the alleged assumptions are anything to go by, it sure undermines the entire integrity of the whole exercise, with the probability of the end result being skewed to benefit a selected demographics being likely. Towards that end, the whole exercise will be nothing but a political charade.

  3. Census helps us to understand who we are, and as a nation gives an accurate picture of the make up of the country’s population, and helps governments develop policies so they can redirect national investments, such as building schools, hospitals, roads, housing, electricity, to communities where they are needed most. In terms of the distribution of the national wealth, knowing what part of the country needs what, will also helps government gets a clearer understanding of what sorts of funding local communities or District councils needs to develop their areas. Maybe if communities in Kaliahun District wants a hospital built, the people of Bonthe District will wants a Ferry, or an extention bridge that links them to the main land. The census remains the most accurate source of demographic and social statistics of any nation.

    The state will need a lot of trained manpower to carry out the exercise. It is expensive and time consuming. Gathering the census data is fraught with inaccurate statistical data because the citizens in the rural areas are always suspicious of governments. You just have to speak to some people that believe Covid19 was introduced by the Bio government, then you conclude to yourself that our country is deeply polarised in ethnic and regional lines. So it a huge challenge for the government to convince people to part with their private information. Problems arise as a result of communities that lives in the provinces don’t usually support the process. And in age of fake news, the myriad of problems facing would be census official will come down to their power of persuasion. I hope that is part of to training. Like the famous quote from former US president, FDR “The only thing they have to fear, is fear it self” Most rural communities concern of the intrusiveness of the whole exircise. Especially people’s with larger families, that sometimes the head of the house hold, don’t know how many children he’d fathered never mind how many wives are in his processions.

    So reduce cooperation with census officials, by giving them false information is all too real.. That is why, the government should engaged with paramount chiefs, section chiefs, and tribal elders, and all stakeholders to make this census a success. And lunch an information blitzed on radio and Television. We know many communities lives in scattered and difficult to get areas, so extending the timetable for the completion of the census exircise will not give us a clear and accurate information about our country’s population, but it will give us a picture, that we can use as a template of knowing where we are. Finally Bio can use our country’s population to take out more loans from international financial institutions like the IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank. There is always two sides to a coin. This is a costly exircise, so our International partners should brace themselves for Bio’s government asking them to foot the bill for the Census exircise. As long as his government is not paying for it.

  4. The manner in which the recruitment is going at the Statistics office is not please with some of we. They collected money from people and for others they work on percentage bases they never look for qualifications, most of the names that come out others are not qualify to work their because most of them are not mathematically incline with that how can those people bring up with correct result. I am afraid the way in which most of the recruitment is going on in Sierra Leone in offices.

    I applied for Bombali district and I have a National Diploma in electrical and electronics engineering and I have over eight years experience in repearing mobile phones and electronics appliances as well as domestic house installation and I am also technically incline. With all this my name is not shortlisted, no job now and I am loosing hope for this country the manner in which job is being offered to people, it’s should not be by sentiment but by qualifications.

    Even the way the advertisement for the census was done, they only asked people to applied with CV and write the position you applied for and include your qualifications to the letter with submitting any of your credentials. I am Mohamed Fatu kargbo from Bombali district, contact: +23277269628

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