Ghana: 'Stop Harassing, Intimidating Census Field Officials'

13 December 2019

Stop harassing and intimidating census field officials assigned to collect data for next year's population and data census, Greater Accra Regional Statistician, Christian Assem, has appealed to Ghanaians.

According to him, data gathered on the field during census were only for statistics that inform development plans and policies and not for tax, political or immigration purposes, as believed by persons who harass and intimidate the field officers.

Citing an instance which occurred at Kwabenya in Accra during the Agriculture census last year, he said some residents arrested and sent a field staff to the police station after he was wrongly indentified as a thief

He was speaking to the Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Greater Accra Regional Census Implementation Committee in Accra yesterday.

He said the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) was mandated by law to undertake population and housing census every 10 years to enable the government develop plans and strategies to enhance national development.

The eight-member committee is chaired by Ernest Nyagbe, Chief Director of the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) with Mr Assem as the Secretary.

Other members include representative of the Regional House of Chiefs, Regional Information Officer, Regional Director of Education, Regional Director of Health, Regional Population Officer and Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).

"Statistics cannot be conjured. It takes the census field officers to come to our residential quarters anywhere in the country to collect our data for the statistics. We do not collect the information for tax, immigration or political purposes.

The data we take from households and individuals are highly confidential. Our appeal to you is do not harass the census field officials. They mean no harm when they visit you," he stated.

The exercise, he said, could only be successful if the public provide the needed support and cooperation to the officials.

Deputy Government Statistician, in-Charge of Operation, GSS, Mrs Araba Forson, asked workers who leave home early and return late to cooperate with census officials when they visit during weekends.

She said census officials would be appropriately identified with identification cards and urged the public to immediately report unscrupulous persons who may take advantage of the exercise to misbehave to the nearest police station.

She noted that demarcation of all the areas have been digitised which could be generated online adding that the GSS has further recruited District Census officers to enable speedy flow of the exercise.

Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Elizabeth Sackey, explained that the census would provide statistics to ensure equity in the distribution of the nation's resources, government services and representation at both national, regional and district levels.

She said it would be used to track the progress of poverty reduction programmes and realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She explained that the establishment of the committee was to decentralise management of the 2020 Census programme to ensure best outcomes.

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