Pres. Weah Seeks Legislative Backing to Schedule National Census in March 2021

MONROVIA, Montserrado – President George Weah has requested the House of Representatives’ endorsement for a new timetable for a national census. The president has proposed March 2021 as the new date.

In a communication addressed to the speaker of the House, Pres. Weah noted that the inability of the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, or LISGIS, to conduct the census last year is what has necessitated this new request.

LISGIS is authorized to conduct the National Population and Housing Census. Over the last two years, it has worked with partners to mobilize needed resources for the implementation and execution of the census, but its failure to execute the census in Dec. 2019 is the reason for the new March 8, 2021, the president’s note said.

“You may recall that my predecessor, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, issued a proclamation on December 21, 2016 declaring the holding of a National Housing and Population Census of the Republic of Liberia on March 21, 2018,” the president wrote. “However, the attendant financial constraints precluded an efficient execution of the timetable of 2018. This body, through a joint resolution Leg-004/2018, set a new date for the holding of a national census to December 8, 2019.”

Weah assured lawmakers that the proposed date is feasible and will afford LISGIS sufficient time to conduct pilot censuses and initiate other activities necessary for the official nationwide launch of the actual census count.

The president noted that “LISGIS also thinks that the month of March is at the heart of the dry season, during which time road connectivity across the country is most convenient for travels.”

LISGIS hopes to seize the intervening time between now and March 2021 to undertake a nationwide geographic planning, a process which is expected to last for at least 12 months, beginning mid-Feb. 2020. The process will involve demarcating boundaries of newly created towns, cities, clans, districts, and boroughs across the country, as well as updating the country’s administrative database.

The constitution requires a national census to be taken every ten years. The census is a prerequisite to evaluating and determining new political representations, national demographics, and socioeconomic needs of the population. The last National Population and Housing Census in Liberia was conducted in March 2008.

On October 8, 2019, the government signed a census project document with the United Nations Population Fund in preparation for the upcoming census, signaling the beginning of activities leading up to the national count.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Ida Reeves

Ida Reeves holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Liberia in Mass Communications and Sociology. She graduated from the Young Political Leadership School and has worked in the past for Farbric Radio, Freedom Radio, and Frontier newspaper.

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