Prime Minister Marape Receives Update on National Census

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape want the slogan “Be Counted” to be used to encourage Papua New Guinea’s population to participate in the upcoming National Census. This announcement comes as the National Statistics Office (NSO) ramps up preparations for the census, which is scheduled to take place in June of this year. The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of the campaign in television and radio promotional messages, stating, “The message must be: When you are counted, we know who you are. You are an actual person in our country.”

With the country approaching its 50th Independence Anniversary next year, the Prime Minister has expressed his desire for the census to be completed in a timely manner, marking a significant milestone in the nation’s history.

Minister for Administrative Services Hon. Richard Masere, in a meeting held on Thursday, March 7, 2024, reassured the Prime Minister that the preparations, including the recruitment of personnel to conduct the census, are well underway. “Last year K50 million was allocated, this year we have allocated K100 million,  and we shall allocate more to ensure we complete a top-quality resourceful data that equips us to plan well develop our country,” Prime Minister Marape said.

Minister Masere said: “This census is of critical importance, as Papua New Guinea has not conducted a comprehensive census for over 23 years, with the last attempt in 2011 being incomplete. The absence of accurate population data has led to reliance on estimates by partner organisations for planning purposes. The NSO currently estimates the country’s population at 11.6 million, pending a more precise figure to emerge from the forthcoming census.

“The census’s budget stands at approximately K200 million, part of which will finance the purchase of 22,000 tablets to aid in data collection.” Prime Minister Marape has suggested the recruitment of university graduates and Grade 12 school leavers who are currently unemployed in villages, as well as the involvement of public servants in the census efforts as a service to the nation, especially those who are receiving salaries without being actively engaged in work.

Originally planned for 2019, the census has been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting with the Prime Minister included key figures such as NSO Director John Igitoi, Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai, NID Director General Noel Mobiha, and Secretary for the Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs Philip Leo.

Mr. Igitoi acknowledged the Marape Government’s support for the NSO and stressed the significance of accurate population data, “It’s very important that we get the population right.” In response , the Prime Minister highlighted the necessity for provincial government structures to appoint dedicated individuals for population matters, ensuring regular updates of baseline data collected during the census, underscoring the government’s commitment to achieving a successful and inclusive national census.