By Legislative Corespondent

Capitol Hill, Monrovia: The Plenary of the Liberian Senate has mandated its Committee on Autonomous Commission & Agencies to recite the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) for it’s reported silence on the way forward for the conduct of the census.

LISGIS will reappear to discuss and address all challenges associated with the holding of the National Population Census.

According to the Senate’s Plenary, LISGIS deliberation will lead to the Senate’s intervention for the conduct of the National Census no later than October of this year.

LISGIS has been mandated to submit to the Senate’s Committees on Autonomous Agencies and Judiciary to discuss all debatable issues, which arose in Plenary as a result of recommendations contained in the report of the Committee on Autonomous Agencies and revert to Plenary in two weeks with the necessary update and advice.

According to the Press and Public Affairs Department of the Senate, the findings contained in the report, which was presented to Plenary on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, the Committee indicated that based on the exchanges with the Director-General, Francis Wreh and other authorities, it was realized that even though a census has not been held since 2008, LISGIS as a statistics and survey house has been conducting some surveys for the purpose of generating national database.

Those to appear before the Committee include Composite, Core Welfare Indicator Questionnaire, Labor Force and Human Rights Surveys (2010 and 2016/2017), Demographic and Health Surveys (2013 and 2019/2020) and Household Income and Expenditure Surveys (2014-2016).

“There is a basket fund created for Census to be managed by UNFPA, where financial contributions to Census are lodged, but US$ 8million contributed by the World Bank is being lodged with the Public Financial Management Unit (PFMU) at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning” the Committee report revealed.

Also, according to one of the findings contained in the report, “the pre-requisite or pertest activities for the Census have been completed including the training of Census Enumerators and Supervisors”.

The exchanges further disclosed that the budget for the Census nationwide is US$23.2m, about US$16.6m has been received by LISGIS and expended to procure materials for the pre-test Census activities.

Additionally, the Committee mentioned that the Government of Liberia is expected to come forth with its direct budget support to LISGIS with the total payment of US$3.7m.

The continuous silence on the holding of the National Population Census spark up serious debate at the Liberian Senate provoking members to recite LISGIS.

Members of the Senate believe that the continuous Postponement of the National Census is a violation of the Liberian Constitution and poses threats to the holding of the upcoming General and Presidential Elections scheduled for 2023.

Since Liberia conducted its first post war Census in 2008 under former Pres. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the country is yet to conduct another Census after fourteen (14) years.

Article 39 of the 1986 Constitution states that the Legislature shall cause a Census to be undertaken every ten years as part of its main function and responsibilities.

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