A delegation from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) paid courtesy calls on former Presidents John Mahama and John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
The delegation was led by the Government Statistician and Chief Census Officer, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, comprised of members of the GSS Governing Board and the Census Coordinating Team.
The courtesy call was to brief the former heads of states on the upcoming 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) and elicit their support for census publicity, education, and advocacy (PEA) activities.
As part of the census PEA strategy, the Ghana Statistical Service is enlisting the support of statesmen, political and religious leaders in the country to advocate for the census to ensure that all persons benefit from it and be counted.
The slogan for the 2021 PHC is “you count, get counted” since the 2021 PHC aims for comprehensive complete coverage so that no one is left behind.
The census has been a priority national development, nonpartisan exercise that requires the participation of all Ghanaians will generate data that will be used for decision-making, policy and planning for the development of the nation and its residents.
On Tuesday, President Mahama thanked the delegation for paying the courtesy call on him and for demonstrating that the census is a nonpartisan activity.
He was happy to lend his support to such an important exercise. He noted he had been heavily involved in the past two censuses, first as the Minister of Information and then as Vice President.
He stated that the census was timely so that the nation can have updated data instead of relying on projections.
For him, the data should be used to target interventions such as poverty reduction and decisions on where to site public services such as hospitals and schools. He also acknowledged that it was a positive step for Ghana to conduct a digital census because in this digital era it is good to get speedy results. As such, he would lend his voice to publicise that the census is nonpartisan and encourage everyone to ensure that they are counted.
Also present during the courtesy call with President Mahama were the Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo; NDC Vice-Presidential candidate for the 2020 elections, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang; and former Finance Minister, Mr. Seth Terkper who also added their voices on the importance of the census and the need to depoliticise the census process.
They both called for inclusion during the process to make everyone aware of the importance of the census and to ensure that the information on the census is disseminated to all persons regardless of affiliation and the recruitment process for census officials is fair and unbiased,
Ex-President Kufuor on Thursday also welcomed the delegation.
He said it goes without saying that he supports all efforts for Ghana. According to him, a census is a national activity to generate data to be used as the basis for our development and determination of how national resources should be allocated.
He agreed that census is not a political activity because it helps the nation to plan for all categories of persons.
He advised that the engagement of the Chief Census Officer with statesmen and other leaders should confirm that census is inclusive and nonpartisan and all must be endeavour to be counted.
The former President noted the tendency for Ghanaians to politicise activities that need not have political undertones, and it remains a hindrance to the completion and success of development initiatives meant to benefit the country.
He urged the Ghana Statistical Service to implement the census properly and in an inclusive manner to ensure that the exercise remains free of politics.