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Availability of tablets caused Census delay

The delay in the conduct of the Mid-Term Population and Housing Census (MTPHC) was caused by the delay in shipment of tablets donated by the government of Kenya, officials of Statistics Sierra Leone have said. 

The national statistical agency said on Monday that the tablets which are now in the custody of the Sierra Leone Government are key in the census process.

The tablets were presented to officials of the Sierra Leone High Commission in Nairobi recently. And officials say plans are underway to ship them. 

The enumeration exercise for the census was initially scheduled to commence on April 19. Last week Stats SL announced that the exercise had been postponed. It however provided no new date.

Speaking at a press conference at the headquarters of Stats SL, Prof. Osman Sanko, Statistician-General and Chief Executive Officer of Stats SL, said the availability of the tablets will determine the new date.

This will be the first time Sierra Leone will be conducting a Mid-Term Population and Housing Census. It is also the first time the country is conducting the census with the aid of digital devices.

The 20, 000 tablets provided by the Kenyan government would have cost Sierra Leone US$6million, according to officials.

While the Kenyan government approved the donations earlier, the official handing over was delayed due to bureaucratic reasons.

“If the tablets had been here earlier, the April 29th deadline would have been met,” said Andrew Bob Johnny, Deputy Statistician.

Stats SL officials say presently cartographic mapping exercise is ongoing. 

The conduct of the mid-term census was declared by President Julius Maada Bio in early 2020. It was initially scheduled for December that year, but due to the Covid-19, it was postponed. This is the second time it has been postponed.

The government said the census is needed to rectify errors identified with the 2015 census. 

Some opposition political parties have questioned the rationale behind the exercise. 

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