PNG Census to begin in June: PM Marape

Prime Minister James Marape

A nationwide census with the slogan “Be Counted” will begin in June, says Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape.

With the country approaching its 50th Independence anniversary next year, the Government plans to have the census completed in a timely manner.

Originally planned for 2019, the census has been postponed twice due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The census will cost about K200 million (US$53 million), part of which will finance the purchase of 22,000 tablets to aid in the data collection.

Marape said the Government had already allocated K50 million last year, and another K100 million (US$28 million) this year for the census to be conducted. “And we shall allocate more to ensure we complete a top-quality resourceful data that equips us to plan well and develop our country,” he said.

“We will also recruit university graduates and Grade 12 school-leavers who are 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.

“And the census will be rolled out under the slogan, ‘Be Counted’, because when you are counted, the Government knows who you are, and that you are an actual person in our country.”

Marape called on provincial government 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.

Meanwhile, Administrative Services Minister Richard Masere said preparations, including the recruitment of personnel to conduct the census, had already begun.

“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,” he said.

“The absence of population data has led to reliance on estimates,” he said.