Survey not about money, says Chief Statistician

Twenty statistical surveying teams composed of about 400 employees are preparing for the 2021 Census and the first phase of the National identification project.

The Government's Chief Statistician, Ali’imuamua Malaefono Taua, said the programme is highly anticipated in villages because of a $50 cash incentive to sign-up - part of the Government’s second economic stimulus package.

However, she said that the incentive is not the spirit of the Bureau’s initiative 

Training for teams who will be going out to the households is scheduled to start in the first week of August. 

The following week, starting August 10, the programme will begin running for up to six weeks depending on the coverage required.

Ali’imuamua revealed that the teams are expected to cover 30,000 households; populated by an estimated 202,000 people. 

The Head Statistician said an increase in population is anticipated due to the shutdown of international borders and the repatriation of  Recognised Seasonal Employment (R.S.E.) workers.

She revealed that the Police and the Ministry of Finance Audit team will be in charge of securing the hard cash to be distributed to participants.

In previous reports, the Ministry of Finance (M.O.F.), Chief Executive Officer, Leasiosiofaasisina Oscar Malielegaoi, said the Government's proposal to give $50 tala to every Samoan citizen who registers for the national census identification scheme will cost the national budget $12 million.

Ali’imuamua also clarified that their door-to-door service is not about disbursing money but preparing next year’s population census.

“This is the time that we go out to map out the villages and list of families and the expected numbers right now, just like the [Office of the Electoral] OEC’s role of registering eligible voters before the actual elections,” she said in an interview with the Observer.

“These numbers mapped out in advance with an expected number and integrated into the financial budget of this year as a preparation, but the actual implementation of the census will only take place next year.

“But due to the state of emergency and the stimulus package, the Government decided to [...roll it] out together, but the people are forgetting that it is [about] preparations for the 2021 Census and not [...] gifting money.”

The National ID is beneficial, said Aliimuamua, as of now, apart from passport holders and motorists with driver’s licenses; others will use their birth certificates despite its limitations as a form of verification.

 

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