(6th March 2013) - Vice President Riek Machar has stressed the importance of a national census, for democracy and development.
The Vice President said the government is working towards ensuring that the population count takes place next year as planned.
While addressing a donors meeting in Juba to discuss the upcoming census, Machar appealed to the donors to support the exercise, saying the population figures are vital for guiding policy makers and the planning of the next elections set for 2015.
“Census data is needed for efficient and equitable demarcation of electoral constituencies and adjustment of administrative borders. In addition reliable census data can assist in regional allocation of revenues amongst the country’s administrative units. Thus the census will provide a solid foundation, and the means for good governance and the consolidation of our democracy. It is therefore crucial for South Sudan to conduct the census in 2014,” says Machar.
The Council of Ministers in February this year passed a budget of 92 million US dollars for the 2014 population and housing census. A total of 37 million US dollars is needed this year to conduct activities and preparations for the exercise.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has put the population growth rate of South Sudan at 2.5% per year.
The United Nations Humanitarian coordinator Toby Lanzer, says the growth rate is as a result of several factors including improved health services.
“We know the incidence of disease has gone down, we know that there are more health care providers. We know that the nutritional status of the average person in this country has improved. So there has been considerable population growth of at least 1.2 million people since 2008,” says Lanzer.