Planning is moving forward to conduct the general population census
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Baghdad: Hoda Al-Azzawi
Despite the intentions and efforts to conduct a general population census in Iraq since 2010 and what followed until 2020, the security events and political disputes that characterized that period prevented this, and under the current government of Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, the steps seem more serious and have been taken. A practical nature by the Ministry of Planning in conducting the census and setting timetables for its conduct that stop at the threshold of November of next year 2024.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Planning, Abdul Zahra Al-Hindawi, stated in an interview with “Al-Sabah” that “Iraq has not conducted a population census for a year 1997 was not a comprehensive census because it did not include the governorates of the Kurdistan region at that time, while the last (general census) was in 1987, and thus we have a large gap in the need for data and indicators that accurately depict and reflect reality.
Al-Hindawi pointed out previous attempts to conduct the census in 2010, but it was postponed as a result of political differences despite reaching the final stages. He also pointed to the second attempt, for which the date of 2020 was set, but the efforts failed as a result of the demonstrations and the outbreak of the “Corona” pandemic.
He added, "After the issuance of the decision of the Council of Ministers and the Supreme Authority for the Population Census in the Council of Ministers to hold the population census in Iraq in 2024, and in light of the priorities of the government program and the directives of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Planning took its decision and developed a plan with timetables to conduct the census in November of next year 2024." .
The spokesman explained, “There are many requirements when we talk about the population census, which the United Nations describes as (one of the largest and most difficult projects undertaken by any government in the world), and therefore the general general population census is a major project, especially in light of the lack of population censuses to help as a basis.” Data, as Iraq has not witnessed a population census for 26 years.”
He continued: “The Ministry of Planning - as I mentioned earlier - has developed a plan according to specific time frames to complete all requirements, most notably the provision of tablets, as we need no less than 130 thousand tablets, which requires perhaps six months in order to contract with them.” International companies will prepare and supply them, and then we will talk about conducting a pilot census during the month of May for next year, and then we will talk about training 130,000 male and female teachers on how to fill out forms and ask questions, how to use tablets and geographic systems, and how to deal with them.”
Al-Hindawi added, “We also need the inventory and numbering process, which represents the backbone of the census, which takes two to three months to complete, in addition to establishing a national center for data processing and the availability of the latest technologies, in addition to providing satellite images for administrative units at the level of governorates, districts, and villages, as well as the requirements.” Logistical, administrative and financial,” stressing that “within the 2023 budget, 100 billion Iraqi dinars were allocated, and it is hoped to secure the allocation next year 2024 to complete all requirements for the census.”
Regarding the importance of conducting the population census, the head of the Osool Foundation for Economic and Sustainable Development, Khaled Al-Jabri, indicated in an interview with Al-Sabah that “the population census carries great importance and has many impacts on the local economy, including that it provides accurate data about the size and distribution of Population, which helps determine community needs for various resources, including education, health, and housing, and develop economic policies on an accurate basis, as it provides a better understanding of economic dynamics and population needs.”
He added, "The importance of the census lies in identifying job opportunities by providing a clear vision of the available workforce and its distribution, developing employment policies, and providing a comprehensive system regarding education and health services needs, which helps direct investments and improve infrastructure. The census can also guide the government in determining spending priorities." And allocate benefits and support based on the needs of the population.”
Edited by: Muhammad Al-Ansari
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