LIMITED FUNDING COULD HINDER CENSUS

MONROVIA-The Liberia Institute for Geo Information Services (LISGIS) is craving for budgetary support to enable the entity successfully conduct the pending 2022 National census.

LISGIS is currently making preparations for the conduct of the census with mapping and other field work that will ensure the collection of holistic data about the country but the entity says in the absence of the needed funding the scope of activities it has planned to carry out will not all be implemented.

Wilmot F. Smith, Jr. Deputy Director General for Information and Coordination at LISGIS told this paper that adequate resources along with the needed logistics are required to ensure enough data are provided quickly in order for the Data Cycle to match the Decision Cycle.

Smith said as part of preparation for the conduct of the 2022 census, LISGIS Pretest deployment gets underway this week

“For the Pretest we have 268 EAs and 76 Supervision Areas, so total required HR for the field enumeration is 244, but we might need to recruit some other higher level officers for Quality Control. We may end up with about 15,000 EAs for the Census and required about 2780 Supervisors. It’s going to be a 100% digital census with Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAP methodology for the de-facto enumeration”, he disclosed.

Smith added “The purpose of this Pre-test is to: Test the adequacy of all the census instruments such as the EAmaps (how correct are they, hope not misleading), test the questionnaire test our logistics preparation, have idea of what means of transportation enumerators would require to reach the nooks and crannies of the country, how many days will be considered adequate for the enumeration (total coverage), public awareness, test receptivity and buy in of our stakeholders (the public)” (% of EAs to be enumerated) its about 0.2% or so. Very small percentage, due to inadequate funding to cover the expense if higher than that. This is supposed to be dressed rehearsal for the census but funding the expected scare was huge, hence we scaled down to that tiny bit”.

Smith says data will be transmitted to the SCWed Platform resident in the GCP. GOOGLE CLOUD Platform.

The LISGIS Deputy Director said another issue that hindering the credibility of data in Liberia is adhering to the Data Sharing and Exchange Policy.

According to him, the Data Sharing and Exchange Policy clearly provides the roadmap to Liberia Coordinated System of official statistics for users of Statistics.

He disclosed that LISGIS is at the Central Point as the hub and repository of available relevant data management and data dissemination for the public, Civil Society, private sector, research organization ad international partners.

Smith says unfortunately, the cooperation and willingness for other institutions to open up and allow LISGIS to carry out the smooth operation of data collection and coordination has been and is a huge challenge. Hence, he believes an Executive Order would be required to have all the actors recognizing LISGIS’s Role to deter noncompliance from institutions.

The issue of inadequate funding was also stressed recently by LISGIS Director General, Frances F. Wreh during budget hearing at the Capitol Building.

In the proposed budget LISGIS is seeking to have a budgetary allotment of US$12,575, 000 for the conduct of the Census and other activities.

During his appearance before the Budget Committee at the Legislature, Director General indicated that the entity in February 2020 trained 192 mapping personnel for a month and in February 2021 conducted a refresher training for the 192 mapping personnel who were deployed throughout Liberia in April 2021 to conduct the National Geographic Planning scheduled for 7 months.

According to the LISGIS factsheet presented to the lawmakers, the mapping has to be extended because the projected 10,500 enumeration areas for 2018 is no longer a reality. LISGIS is said to have now demarcated 12,777 enumeration areas as of November 2021 and it is still left with over 21% (173 clans) of the 822 clans nationwide. By December the number is gone to 13,747.

LISGIS has also indicated that it requires additional resources and logistics to keep in touch with the March 2022 main census enumeration exercise and that the entity also needs a new home that will enable it conduct the 2022 census that requires huge number of field staff for the job.

During the last budget LISGIS allotment for the entity core function through the annual budget was reduced, which has impacted a lot of the operations of the entity including routine data collection, analysis, publication, training of statistical staff and effective running of its main and county offices.

Director General Wreh told the lawmakers about the need to increase budgetary support to LISGIS in order for the entity to meet the need of the country in gathering, managing and releasing accurate and credible data.

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