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‘Population, housing census successful’

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By Feston Malekezo:

CONFERRING – Goodall and Mercy Kanyuka (left)

The National Statistical Office (NSO) has described the recently completed 2018 Population and Housing Census exercise as 99.5 successful.

Commissioner of Statistics, Mercy Kanyuka, told journalists in Blantyre Monday that enumeration has been completed in almost all 42 census districts.

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“We have not completed the exercise in very few districts because of two factors, one of which being delayed commencement of the exercise as we had to start late due to boundary wrangles among traditional leaders. This was sorted out and we will complete the enumeration in such districts this week,” she said.

Kanyuka also said there were increased cases of call backs, where respondents could not be found during the first visit and enumerators have to visit those households again.

During the exercise, some enumerators and supervisors threatened to boycott and hold on to data they were collecting in a dispute over unsettled training and field allowances.

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Kanyuka conceded the challenge but said, while they were processing payments, some enumerators provided incorrect bank accounts.

She said, at the beginning, money for payment amounting to K1,826,290,000 was returned by the banks due to incorrect individual bank accounts.

“My office then worked with field supervisors to address this challenge. To date K102,040,000 still stands which has affected 1,275 enumerators out of the 25,000 field staff. On this amount, my office has managed to sort out K56,000,000 by allocating funds to correct individual banks accounts and we are finalising [works on] the remaining funds,” she said.

She warned that NSO would take decisive action against enumerators who will hold on to tablets used during the data collection process, describing the move as criminal in nature.

In an interview on Sunday NSO spokesperson, Kingsley Manda, said if some people have not yet been counted they should contact NSO and give their location to be counted. The office has given an extension of up to Wednesday this week to finalise the counting process.

“We do not want to leave any building unenumerated or anybody uncounted. This exercise comes once in 10 years and, so, it is the duty of any person living in Malawi to be counted. What you can do if you are not counted is alert your local leaders and they will get in touch with us. For those who have access to the internet, you can write us through Facebook or email or call us to tell us your location so that you can be counted. Of course, we will set a deadline for this grace period,” he said.

The exercise started on September 3 and, for the first time, NSO used handheld devices [tablets] to collect data.

The K14.5 billion census was the sixth to be conducted in Malawi since independence.

The census was categorised into four phases of preparation, enumeration, data processing and dissemination. Preliminary results are expected to be announced in December this year and the final results will be ready by April next year.

About 50 percent of the total budget was bankrolled by the Malawi government. Others who supported the project include United States Agency for International Development, United Kingdom Aid, United Nations Population Fund, Norwegian Embassy and Standard Bank.

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