Ethiopian National Census postponed (By Dawit Endeshaw)
- Crisis in E. Ethiopia might be the cause
The Fourth National Housing and Population Census, originally scheduled to be conducted on November 19, 2017, has now been postponed to February 2018, The Reporter has learnt. The announcement came as the purchased digital tablet computers are almost on their way to Ethiopia.
The first batch of the supply of the digital computer tablets and power banks has already reached Bole Airport. From the total supply, 93,000 tablets and 180,000 power banks had already been delivered by suppliers.
Yigezu Daba, general director of the Public Procurement and Property Disposal Service, the agency that conducted the procurement of the equipment on behalf of the Central Statistics Agency (CSA), has confirmed delivery of the first batch.
“The remaining supply is also on its way,” Yigezu told The Reporter.
This could not, however, change the fact that the census has to be postponed to February 2018. Since preparations for the census began, a commission entrusted with overseeing the census was sure that the census would be held in November.
However, unforeseen circumstances along the way have forced the government to change the date to February 11, 2018.
Since the fourth census will be conducted using digital technology, time for preparation is essential, said an official close to the case.
In addition, the census has to be conducted at a time of the year when there is minimal movement of people from one part of the country to another.
So we chose February as a suitable time, said the unnamed official.
CSA Director General Biratu Yigezu confirmed the postponement of the census, but declined to give details on why it was put off.
As far as the movement of people from one place to another part of the country, this is time when more than 70,000 people are being displaced following a conflict along the Oromia-Somali Regional State border.
Humanitarian agencies put the number of displaced Ethiopians at around 40,000 households.
The Reporter could not confirm if the extension is related to the internal displacement that has been going on for months.
Preparations for the long-overdue census officially commenced in 2015 with three billion birr financing secured from both the Ethiopian government and donors.
With these funds, the CSA purchased 180,000 tablets and 126,000 pieces of power banks at a total cost of 665 million birr.
The procurement process, which took longer than expected, was surrounded by controversies. Bidding companies during the purchase process were complaining about alleged irregularities along the way.
Finally, two global IT equipments suppliers – Lenovo and Huawei – managed to win the bid to supply the equipment.
According to the original plan, delivery of equipment was to be made by May 2017, but this was postponed following a delay in the purchase process.
In related news, CSA has awarded a bid for the supply of 180,000 leather bags to a local company at a unit price of 119 birr.
“We think we were very careful and transparent on the whole purchasing process,” Ashenafi Alemayehu, director of procurement and property with CSA, told The Reporter.