Census will help gov’t with social intervention policies – Prof Quartey

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ISSER is a ReNAPRI network member based at the University of Ghana. Prof Peter Quartey is a ReNAPRI Board member. This story was first published by Barima Kwabena Yeboah |3news.com| Ghana on June 28th 2021

The Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana Professor Peter Quartey has underscored the need for Ghanaians to avail themselves to be counted in the ongoing 2021 Population and Housing Census.

He said the census data will help government target social interventions to the right people who need them the most. It will also aid government to be abreast of the true demographics of Ghana, such as data on the poor in the country, he added, noting further that it will help government to ascertain the true data of the poverty line in the country, income, expenditure and even inequality in the country. He said once government has this data, it will help them know where the poor live, what they do, the kind of housing structures they live in, to properly target them for any social interventions.

Prof. Quartey underscored that the census data is very important for the purposes of organizing elections in the country because the Electoral Commission (EC) relies on this data to deliver on their mandate. It will help government to ascertain the housing deficit in the country in order to be able to reduce the gap in the housing deficit in Ghana, the ISSER Director said.

He made this pronouncement in an interview with Emmanuel Samani on Midday Live on TV3 on Monday, June 28. Prof. Quartey was speaking on the back of the commencement of the 2021 Population and Housing Census in the country on Sunday, June 27 to count the number of people and houses in the country. “Let’s talk about income, expenditure, poverty, inequalities, once you know all of these and you want to target the poor, like the LEAP Programme, we need this data to be able to target the poor,” the Economics professor said. ‘Know where the poor are, what they do, the kind of housing structures they live in, if you want to bring an intervention you need this data to work on. You need the data when it comes to even elections, parliamentary, presidential elections and so on. The Electoral Commission relies on this data by the law. If you want to know our housing deficits so that government will fashion out policies and strategies to ensure that we reduce the housing gap. So there are several areas by which this data could be used.”

He added that “same with health, you ought to know people’s health status and if there is the need to see how many are stunted, child mortality rate, so that we can tackle them at the right places”.
On the issue of people who don’t want to avail themselves for counting, he said: “We face this all the time at ISSER when we are collecting data. When we send enumerators out, we face this so it’s not new to me. But we need to sound the communication very well, you ought to have people with identifications on them, they have letters on them. We need to communicate very well, the District Assemblies should be communicating to their constituents so that they are aware that this is happening, the local radio stations should be communicating in their local languages to assure people that the data they are going to collect is going to be confidential.

“As human beings, we are very skeptical when somebody is taking data from us. We don’t know how they are going to be used or how confidential their information is going to be kept, so constantly we need to assure people that their information is going to be confidential, it’s going to be used for our own good and I believe with that the enumerators will be good to go.”