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UBOS assures Ugandans over technology ahead of 2023 National census

Government is in the process of procuring up to 150,000 tablet computers to be used in the upcoming National Population and Housing Census

Government is in the process of procuring up to 150,000 tablet computers to be used in the upcoming National Population and Housing Census

KAMPALA —The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), a government agency charged with managing the national statistical system has assured the country that the technology it will deploy to collect data for the 2023 National Housing and Population Census is foolproof and free of errors.

The exercise which the agency says will be fully digital in line with the United Nations requirements will be carried out in August 2023.

Mr. James Kizza, who heads UBOS’ Digital Solutions and Data Capability Directorate told reporters on Monday November 14 that the technology has been tried and tested by different countries and it’s results have been effective.

Mr. Kizza also told reporters that UBOS will also put the technology on trials in the up coming census pilot project to be conducted in February, 2023.

“This time we are going to have a technology- based census; so we will be using tablets,” Mr Kizza said.

He added: “We have a foolproof technology system that has an inbuilt quality control and we are sure we will get it right.”

“There are many advantages to collecting data electronically, such as efficiency, timeliness and improved data quality,” he said noting that the agency was in the process of procuring the required items.

“That means that what we have had in the past where complete results come after say one to two years, we should expect that this time round the results will come in much earlier.” he said.

“Experience shows that countries that have conducted censuses in this manner have taken three to four months to produce the final results and we plan to do the same or do better.”

Mr. Kizza didn’t give details of the procurement process including costs and suppliers’ information.

Mr. Godfrey Nabongo, the deputy executive director at UBOS said the tablet computers would be deployed to other government departments after the census exercise.

“When we are done using them, they will go to others arms of government to enhance service delivery,” Mr. Nabongo said.

He revealed that UBOS would soon launch a pilot programme to assess census instruments (IT equipment, questionnaires, manuals and control forms), test and validate the enumeration procedures, authenticate the list of historical events as an aid to age estimation and evaluate the recruitment and training procedures for enumerators and supervisors.

It will also check the quality of the enumeration area maps, test the efficiency of logistics, flow of data from the field to the headquarters, confirm the publicity levels achieved and evaluate data processing strategies.

“Pilot census helps us test the questions to administer, the time it takes to administer the questions, the maps and also testing technical, logistics and personnel for the exercise to be sure ahead of the real enumeration,” he said.

He said that the country normally conducts a census after every 10 years, which has consistently taken place since August 1969, and, in preparation for the exercise, the government agency has started mapping and scheduled to continue with other pre census activities after the pilot process is completed.

UBOS needs UGX138 billion to conduct the upcoming national population and housing census.

According to the country’s last population census carried out in 2014, the state-run UBOS said there were 34.6 million people in the country.

The UBOS’ latest estimates show Uganda’s population is about 43.7 million.

Statistics Week

Meanwhile, UBOS has launched week-long activities to commemorate Africa Statistics Day to intensify the development of statistics in Africa.

The African Statistics Day is an annual event celebrated on 18 November to raise public awareness on the importance of statistics in all aspects of social and economic life.

Mr. Nabongo said the much sought-after statistics week will run from Monday 14th – Friday 18th.

The theme for 2022 is “Strengthening data systems by modernizing the production and use of agricultural statistics with a view of informing policies to improve resilience in agriculture, nutrition, and food security on the African Continent”.

Uganda Statistical Society Vice President James Wokadala said their role is to impart knowledge, conduct research and do community service.

“Better planning for agricultural statistical production, dissemination, uptake and use is very critical. We need robust evidence for planning and to guide better decision-making in agricultural production,” Wokadala also a Dean School of Statistics and Planning at Makerere University said.

He added: “We are at the centre of this cause and add value to this whole process (processing data and disseminating it). We are also mindful of the methodology used to generate the statistics.”

The other activities will include a debate on Thursday at Makerere University about theories and practices in agricultural statistics.

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