Citizens get $9.5 million from census exercise payment

Close to $10 million has been paid to 191,000 Samoan citizens who have registered for the Government’s census and national identification scheme. 

The Government Statistician, Ali’imuamua Malaefono Ta’aloga, told the Samoa Observer that the exercise in registering people began in August and has been spearheaded by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S).

With 191,000 citizens registered, the Bureau has paid some $9,550,000 to those who have registered. 

As part of efforts to get citizens to participate in the census and the national ID registration exercise, each person was given $50 and the budget for this expense was approved in May this year as part of the Government’s Phase II Stimulus Package. 

“Some of the challenges faced by our Bureau in collecting data from members of the public is that most people refuse to tell us information such as the income earned by the family, education, health, and also daily chores or duties,” said Ali’imuamua.

She also explained that if their staff do not compile such data, it becomes difficult for the Government to make relevant plans in terms of development and policies. 

“We have used the list of the previous census in 2016 and more recent lists to ration the $50 distribution,” she added. 

Due to people refusing to take part in previous census, it has led to the Bureau discovering that they were not on their database.

“But we have seen that there are families that did not have their names in the census which is a problem.

“It is because these were families that did not wish to give out information but now that their benefits they want to take part.

“However, our staff are used to it now but we are working closely with village representatives to make it easier.”

The Chief Executive Officer of S.B.S. also elaborated that the difference between the previous census and the ongoing census, is that the $50 distribution has made the people more eager to register.

“But usually it does not come with any payment but the monetary distribution is part of the COVID-19 stimulus.

"We want to give the opportunity to all our people to be part of the census because there are some just concluding quarantine that we are also following up."

Aliimuamua said the $50 distribution for the census and National I.D. has been extended following the order of Cabinet. 

"Cabinet has approved another $3,000,000 so we can complete the coverage at Manono and Apolima Islands this week and the rest of the rural areas from Lefaga [and] Faleseela districts to Safata, Siumu, Falealili, Aleipata, Lepa, Lotofaga,  Fagaloa, Anoamaa and all else. 

"The fieldwork will end by Wednesday next week [28 October] in Upolu and then for Thursday to Saturday [29-31 October] we plan to have a Fixed site at the E.F.K.S. Hall at Mulinuu from 9am to 3pm for anyone we may have missed especially new births from [24 August to 30 October], returning residents from overseas who arrived before [30 October] and all others. 

"We also have a team which will complete the missing persons from Savaii island next week."

Ali’imuamua advised those who have not been included on their household lists of residents, to call and notify the Bureau before the end of this month.

In a public notice issued by the Bureau it states that the distribution of the Government's $50 tala stimulus cash payment at the E.F.K.S. Youth Hall, Sogi and TATTE Building will not take place this Saturday. 

The programme will not happen as the organisation’s staff will continue to carry out operations in the villages.

The staff members are focusing on villages in Upolu, Manono and Apolima.

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