Opposition Spokesperson for Finance Julian Robinson is once again demanding an update from the Government on the data collection process for the 2022 Population and Housing Census that was to be completed more than four months ago.
During a sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives in March, Carol Coy, director general of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), shared that the institute is having issues recruiting workers for the data collection exercise.
At the time, both the director and the Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke were unable to provide a new completion date for the process that was supposed to end in December last year.
“It really is unacceptable that we are at the beginning of May, and there is still no new timeframe for the completion of the exercise, and I’m not clear at this stage what percentage of completion of the population they are at. I know they have tried alternative means of encouraging people to do things online, but even with that they seem to be very way behind their target in terms of the number of people they had expected to participate in the programme,” Robinson told Our Today.
Coy had previously shared that STATIN was experiencing issues getting workers to complete the exercise. A target of 7,000 workers was set to aid in the completion of the process, but STATIN was only able to recruit some 4,000 workers.
While the Finance Minister said they are working to resolve the issues, Robinson believes the steps taken by the Government have not been effective.
“I think there is a level of cynicism and distraught about the process, and we’ve been trying to encourage people to participate, but for some reason, there seems to be a lot of issues that are still unresolved, and the country requires an update as to where we are at,” the Opposition Spokesman told Our Today.
He also noted that the delay in the process means that Census workers will be working far beyond the time they anticipate. This, Robinson said, could result in the Government spending more than they had budgeted for the project.
A budget of J$2.4 billion was allotted for the Census that is being carried out in all 14 parishes and 5,776 enumeration districts. It is the 15th Census in Jamaica’s history and operates under the theme ‘Yuh count, Mi count, All a wi count!”
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