Gov't Statistician Runs For Cover

Sun, 24 Oct 2010 Source: Arthur, Gifty

Gifty Arthur

In spite of the huge shortcomings and allegations of underhand dealings that

have hit the ongoing US$50 million census, officials of the Ghana

Statistical Services (GSS) continue to pat themselves in the back, claiming

that the exercise has rather been encouraging.

At press conference last Tuesday, Dr. Grace Bediako, the Government

Statistician cleverly avoided nagging issues, including huge conflict of

interests that have plagued the census and caused its near collapse with

calls that she should be sacked for causing financial loss to the state.

The carrier bags she has imported from China for the census are still on the

high seas, although the Census is almost over. There are reports that GSS

had to call in head potters (Kayayei) from various markets in Accra, to wash

the bags used in the 2000 census for use by the enumerators.

Mrs. Bediako did not address reports that her outfit deliberately created an

artificial shortage in the number of Census Questionnaires made available

for the exercise to create an avenue for their handpicked companies to also

print some of the question papers.

Dr. Bediako also did not address the late award of the contract to the

printer, Compuprint,13 days to the start of the census- when the printer was

given a mobilizations fee, why her outfit had to halt the printing process

for two days, thus leaving the regions without census questionnaires.

Although September 26, 2010 was long announced as the census date, The

Herald’s information was that the tender was opened on August 18, 2010, with

the contract awarded only on September 7, 2010 but without the final version

of the Census questionnaire.

On September 8, 2010 when the final version of the questionnaire was

submitted, the printer, Compuprint, owned Carl Ernest Vanderpuye, had to

wait for additional five working days on the Ghana Statistical Service, to

get clearance to commence printing but with an order to do so within a


Carrier bags to be used by the enumerators are still on the high seas

although the census is said to be almost over. They were ordered from China,

against government’s directive that all procurements on the census should be

done locally.

Insiders reveal that the bags would be stored and used in the census, which

is ten years away-2010

A software meant to capture the census data and purchased at a whopping one

million pounds sterling is also said to be in the UK, yet to arrive,

although it was long dolled to a consultant, Mr. Yaw Antwi-Adjei, to supply.

He is reported not to have bided for the contract.

There is even dispute about the real price of the software. Market players

described the amount as too astronomical.

The same Mr. Antwi-Adjei who owns Info Builders Ghana Limited, has been

engaged at the Ghana Statistical Services as a consultant on the 2010

census. His appointment has raised many eyebrows as a result of his reported

interest in some of the procurement contracts.

The Herald learnt that there was a popular call at the Ghana Statistical

Service for the 2010 census to be postponed due to ill- preparation, but the

Government Statistician who has widely been described as “dull and

sluggish,” was said to have bulldozed her way through to have census held in

the face of huge difficulties.

The Government Statistician, after the news conference (the usual Meet The

Press), was confronted by The Herald with some of the questions but she

declined to talk, saying that she wants to address them after the census.

She claimed the questions are very destructive and so would want to answer

them after the census.

Dr. Bediako, however, disclosed that the final report of the on-going

Population and Housing Census (PHC) will be ready in 2012 whilst a

provisional report will be out early next year.

At the press conference, she revealed that so far, 90% of the entire

population has been enumerated in the exercise.

According to her, whilst most of the regions have recorded between 92-98%,

and are near completion, the Grater-Accra Region has recorded 85%.

The 2010 Population and Housing Census which has suffered several setbacks

ranging from logistical constraints to boundary disputes, and she emphasized

that the exercise will continue till everybody in the country is counted to

make the exercise reliable.

She said most of the enumerators have completed their assigned enumeration

areas, adding that the few enumeration areas that are yet to be completed

included areas that are currently inaccessible.

These are going to be taken care of by the current mopping up exercise to

have everybody counted.

To make the mopping up exercise very effective and successful, Dr. Bediako

said teams have been constituted in each district to respond to all types of

requests. Also, enumerators within the same supervisory areas have been

teamed up with others who are working within large enumeration areas.

Furthermore, she said teams have been assigned to areas which have been

identified as problem areas.

The Government Statistician pleaded with the public, especially those in

areas where inhabitants have resisted the enumeration process because of

boundary disputes or ethnic issues, to bear with the officials and see the

need to be counted.

She said such disputes could be settled after the Population and Housing

Census and so entreated them to identify themselves with the exercise since

it is for a good course.

The public was further entreated to report about areas which may not have

been covered, or of their own households since such information received

from the public are noted and worked on.

However, Dr. Bediako was not able to tell the media as to how much money the

nation is spending on the exercise since the entire programme has been

extended indefinitely.

Columnist: Arthur, Gifty