THE GOVERNMENT Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, has paid a courtesy call on the National Chief Imam, Sheik Dr Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu, to inspire the involvement of all stakeholders in the 2020 Population and Housing Census (PHC).
Being the first in a series of visits to religious leaders in the country, the visit was for the Government Statistician to officially introduce himself and his team to the Muslim leadership and interact with the community through the Office of the National Chief Imam.
He was accompanied by the Deputy Government Statistician, Mr David Yenukwa Kombat, and the Director of Administration, Mr Kwadwo Asante-Mensah.
Professor Annim said, “the visit goes beyond the population and housing census” and expressed the view that as an agency responsible for a critical service like statistics in the country, there was the need to occasionally pay visits to stakeholders.
On the importance of collaborations with stakeholders in achieving success in the 2020 PHC, the Government Statistician suggested that there had to be people on the ground to serve as ambassadors in educating the communities ahead of the census so that the enumeration would be easier.
He said “the census is a large operation and that the GSS cannot do it without the help of all stakeholders.”
He hinted that as part of preparatory activities towards the 2020 PHC, a national publicity committee would be inaugurated very soon and the office of the Chief Imam would be invited to support the work of that committee so that the Zongo communities would have first-hand information about census activities.
He also informed the Office of the Chief Imam to encourage the Zongo youth who meet the requirements for enumerators to apply to support the national exercise.
He hinted that there were unauthorized persons circulating information on social media about Muslims wanting to be counted by only Muslims.
He implored the Islamic leadership to assist GSS in educating their members that this was not the case.
He added that in the enumeration process, language is a key factor and that part of the criteria in selecting enumerators for specific areas are familiarity of language and the locality.
Responding to the delegation, the Advisory Committee of the Chief Imam, led by Alhaji Gado, expressed gratitude for the visit, and assured the delegation that they would ensure that members of their communities were adequately informed on the census processes.
Alhaji Gado, the Secretary of the Advisory Committee, advised that the recruited enumerators must be trained to contain provocation, since the issue of nationality is a sensitive one in the Zongo communities.
He explained further that, although some residents of those communities have names that sound foreign, they are all Ghanaians, and so “interrogating them about their nationality could trigger provocation and mar the exercise.”
Alhaji Gado was assured by Mr Kombat that the census would capture all humans residing within the territories of Ghana, regardless of their nationality.
The 2020 Population and Housing Census, which is slated for March 2020, has a budget of GH¢477 million and about 70,000 enumerators are expected to be recruited across the country to support the exercise.