Liberia: National Census Postponed Due To Lack of Funds

The long anticipated Constitutional crisis predicted by members of the Liberia National Legislature has finally arrived with the March 2018 National Housing and population census being postponed to 2019 due to the inability of the government to provide 50% of the 20 million needed to conduct this exercise.

Liberia House of Representatives

Our Monrovia correspondent reports that the National Housing and Population Census was postponed after the legislature and the President George M. Weah agreed on a resolution to delay and deny Liberians the opportunity to fulfil this constitutional mandate.

Raising the alarm previously about a looming constitutional crisis, Nimba County Representative Larry Yonquoi recently disclosed that the President and Legislature have agreed on a resolution to delay the constitutional event to ensure integrity of the conduct of the census that was last conducted in 2008.

In an interview, the Nimba Lawmaker stated that members of the National Legislature have raised signatures of a two-third majority through a resolution that was signed by President George Weah and to be printed into hand bill so that the census can be postponed.

The lawmaker warned that any with attempt to postpone the census, the country will run into a constitutional crisis He is urging that Liberia as a nation must avoid this constitutional crisis in order to have quality data for elections and other international purposes.

Article 39 of the Liberian Constitution requires that the legislature shall cause a census of the Republic to be undertaken every ten years. The first post war National Housing and Population census was conducted in 2008.

The Government of President George M. Weah is still struggling to obtain resources to meet its obligations including the holding of a national census that will cost the government over US$ 20 million. The census which was expected to taken place on March 26, 2018 has been postponed to November 21 of 2019.

The contending issue now is that the Government of Liberia has not been able to provide 50 percent of the money needed to conduct the census which led to Members of the House of Representatives calling for a resolution which was signed by the President to postpone the census.

The last National Census of Liberia set the population at 3.5 million. It has been ten years since the last Census was conducted.

Map of Liberia

International non-governmental organizations including the World Bank, in 2016, estimated Liberia’s population to be 4.6 million. The unemployment rate of the poor West African country increased to 4 percent in 2016 from a level of 3.90 percent in 2015 and the average unemployment rate in the country was about 7.13 percent from 1980 up to 2016.

It reached an all-time high of 15.90 percent in 1983 and a record low of 3.60 percent was reported in 2014.

By Lincoln Barcon in Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine