Opposition Spokesperson for Finance Julian Robinson is claiming that the 2022 National Census is only at 11 per cent of its target for the data collection phase, which had been expected to be completed this month.
At the same time, Robinson has also dismissed suggestions from the Government that the people do not want to work as census opearators.
During Wednesday’s (March 1) sittting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, 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.
Coy added that STATIN will not be able to complete the exercise by the end of March and a new deadline has not been set. She also said she could not state how far along STATIN is in the process.
Speaking with Our Today this morning (March 2), however, Robinson said he has reason to believe the Census is far behind schedule.
“The information I have is that they are only at 11 per cent of what they projected to complete at this stage, which means we are going to be in for a very long haul,” he said.
“I don’t know when this exercise is going to finish, given the issues that they are having.”
A target of 7,000 workers was set to aid in the completion of the process but STATIN has only been able to recruit some 4,000 workers.
Dr Nigel Clarke, minister of finance and the public service, said persons are resigning their posts in pursuit of better job opportunities elsewhere.
Clarke added that the ministry has since offered a significant pay increase to boost recruitment.
However, according to Robinson, the main issue impacting the process is STATIN’s administrative handling of the Census.
“I don’t accept that there are not people who are willing to work. I believe there are people willing to work and who will do it, but there is something amiss in terms of their internal processing and I don’t think there has been proper acknowledgement of those issues,” said Robinson.
The opposition spokesperson told Our Today that he has spoken with many potential recruits who shared that they were trained for the exercise, but had to wait a long time before receiving any communication from STATIN about the next step. He said many left due to frustration with the system.
“It’s very problematic and I think STATIN needs to accept that there are issues internal to their management and look at it and not just project … that people are not willing to work because they have many other options. I don’t think that is, in my view, a valid reason for what we’re seeing here now,” stated Robinson.
He added that there needs to be a review of STATIN and the entire process to identify weaknesses in terms of management.
The 2022 National Population and Housing Census began its data collection phase on September 12, 2022 under the theme: ‘Yuh Count, Mi Count, All A Wi Count’.
Data collection was expected to take three months, ending in December 2022, but the deadline was pushed to March 2023. The entire census process is projected to end by December 2023.
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