Friday, August 18, 2017

Government boosts census spending

The government has allocated US$15 million to conduct next year’s census, a senior official says.

U Nyi Nyi, a director of the Ministry of Immigration and Population, said almost half of the allocation – which will cover around one-quarter of the total estimated cost – will go toward wages for audit and data collectors.

“We expect to use 20,000 auditors and 100,000 data collectors. We have calculated that the daily wage will be K3000 and travelling costs will be fixed at K4000 a day,” he said. “So a significant amount is needed to cover these expenses.”

The census, which will be the first in almost three decades, is expected to cost more than $55 million and will take place in late March. Foreign donors have already agreed to fund almost half that amount, while U Nyi Nyi said the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has agreed to cover the remainder if the government’s contribution is not enough.

“UNFPA has estimated it will support Myanmar’s 2014 Census Project with $5 million and so far we have already used $2 million,” a UNFPA spokesperson said.

Australia has also committed $2.8 million and Norway is in talks with the government over a possible $7 million pledge.

“It is estimated that the total proposed funding from foreign countries is $26.6 million and we hope we will get it soon,” the spokesperson said.

An official from the Ministry of Immigration and Population told The Myanmar Times on July 29 that state school teachers will be assigned as data collectors.

“The school teachers will have an important role when the census project is launched,” the official said.

A specially created body of census experts known as the International Technical Advisory Board will cooperate with the Ministry of Immigration and Population to train auditors and data collectors in early March.

The census will begin on March 30 and will take place over 14 days. Every person in the country, including foreign visitors, will be counted, except embassy staff, U Nyi Nyi said.

“The census will not cover those in embassies … but all other non-resident foreigners will be included in our census. We will record all foreigners, including Rohingya, who are present in the country when the census is held,” he said.

He said the data would take four to five months to process. A complete population report will be released in early 2015, while a preliminary report will be issued a few months after the census is completed, he said.

Translated by Zar Zar Soe