ZOMBA-(MaraviPost)-The National Statistical Office (NSO) disclosed this week that an additional MK9 billion is urgently needed for it to effectively conduct the September 2018 Population and Housing Census (PHC).

The reveration comes after Parliament approved MK21.3 billion for the exercise in 2017/2018 national budget.

NSO Commissioner Mercy Kanyuka told the Parliamentary Committee on Government and Assurances and Public Service Reforms that the office has asked for additional funds because donors aren’t forthcoming.

Kanyuka disclosed that donor partners who promised to give them tablets for electronic data capture, reversed the decision at the eleventh hour, leaving them with no option, but to ask for a consideration during the Mid-Year Budget Review.

The commissioner said NSO planned to use about 30 000 tablets for data capture using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (Capi). Donors pledged to provide, but later changed tune, saying they would rather donate the gadgets to schools.

“The total budget for the 2018 PHC is MK21.3 billion excluding census mapping, which is largely dependent on Government.

“Treasury has so far released MK1.7 billion for census mapping budget,” said Kanyuka.

She therefore appealed to the committee to help sensitising other members of the House to consider the request and allocate the money to the office.

“No donor has come up with a clear commitment towards the census and this is threatening the timely implementation of the exercise.

‘That is why we are appealing to the members of Parliament to consider revising upwards the 2017/18 Budget allocation to the census during the Mid-Year Budget Review,” she said.

Dedza East legislator Juliana Lunguzi who is a committee member observed that it was disheartening to learn that NSO is struggling with finances . Yet Parliament approved money for the exercise to take place.

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