Nqobile Tshili, Chonicle Reporter
RESULTS of the 2022 National Population and Housing Census are expected to be released by end of October this year, a departure from the past when results were released after two years.
The 2012 census results were only released in 2014 but the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) has said it expects to release preliminary results within three months of concluding this year’s exercise.
Zimbabwe will conduct a National Population and Housing Census between April 21 and April 30.
While previous censuses were manually conducted, with enumerators using a lot of paperwork, this year’s exercise will be done electronically through the use of tablets and the Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing CAPI technique system.
Zimstat has already procured material, including tablets that will be used by enumerators and supervisors in conducting the national census.
The statistics agency is in the process of training level one provincial supervisors on how to use the CAPI system after which they will be required to cascade the knowledge to lower levels.
At least 50 000 enumerators are being recruited for the census exercise together with IT technicians.
In an interview after the official opening of the provincial supervisors training workshop in Bulawayo on Saturday, Zimstat director-general Mr Taguma Mahonde said this year’s census results are expected to be released by the end of October this year. The provincial supervisors undergoing training are from Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands, Mashonaland West and Bulawayo
“In the past we used to record data on paper and then collect all papers from across the country and submit in harare. This is the reason why the data capturing process was taking up to one and half years and the preliminary results used to come out after about 24 months,” said Mr Mahonde.
He said this time around using the Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing, data is collected on tablets and by the end of the day, data is synchronised to servers.
“If everything is done correctly, we expect within three months to have preliminary results and the final document should be out within six months,” said Mr Mahonde.
Mr Mahonde said Zimstat was confident that the Covid-19 pandemic will not further disrupt the census exercise, which is expected to cost US$100 million.
In the 2022 national budget, Treasury allocated $3 billion towards the census exercise.
Mr Mahonde said the pandemic saw the country incurring additional expenses catering for Covid-19 induced costs.
“Initially we had a budget of US$87 million but we then had to buy masks, sanitisers and other Covid-19 related consumables hence the budget increased to US$97 million,” he said.
Mr Mahonde appealed for maximum cooperation from members of the public during the national census exercise.
In some instances, the public will be expected to respond to questions that might seem sensitive and the interview process can even take up to 30 minutes per household.
“To members of the public, we are saying we have a national project. This is a Government project from the 21 to 30 April. We need your cooperation for this exercise to be successful. You will be asked to release confidential information which is important for this exercise but there will be no names to protect individuals. No one will be able to say this piece of data came from this household,” said Mr Mahonde.
He said the law even criminalises sharing of data obtained during the census period. – @nqotshili