Mobile Civil Registration Could Replace Census - Official

2745 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Uganda could do away with the 2014 population census if the mobile civil registration technology by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) is used accurately to register all births and deaths. Bemanya Twebaze, the URSB Registrar General, argues that in developed countries, governments do not require to carry out national census which is costly and time consuming, since population records are updated on a daily basis.

Uganda could do away with the 2014 population census if the mobile civil registration technology by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) is used accurately to register all births and deaths.

Bemanya Twebaze, the URSB Registrar General, argues that in developed countries, governments do not require to carry out national census which is costly and time consuming, since population records are updated on a daily basis.

Twebaze says that with new upgraded systems to record births and deaths in real time, the 2014 census could be the very last. He says the country could rely on data from URSB which can be relayed to relevant organs.

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The Government through the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) had prepared to conduct the National Population and Housing Census in August 2012, but postponed the exercise to 2013 and then 2014 citing lack of funds. The last census was conducted in 2002.

During celebrations to mark World Population Day on July 11 in Ngora District, the Minister of State for Planning, Matia Kasaija announced that the Government had approved 50 billion shillings in the 2013/2014 budget for the national population and housing census planned for August 2014.

Although Justice Minister Gen. Kahinda Otafiire is optimistic the exercise will finally kick off, he is still wary of budgetary constraints that have seen the census postponed twice.

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Census carried out every 10 years has been regarded as a core facet in determining population growth and informing planning for resource allocation.

Isaac Musumba, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors at URSB maintains that it would be ideal to use civil registration data to gauge population, but accurate data must be supported by working and reliable technology accessible to all.

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 Over the years, Uganda’s population has shown a rapid growth from 24.2 million people in 2002 to 34.5 million people in 2011, according to UBOS. It is projected that the country will record additional 1.8 million people by the end of this year.

The 2012 state-of-Uganda population report indicates that the country is characterized by a high youthful population, with at least 78% under 30 years.

The Population Secretariat has attributed the increase in the country’s population to high teenage pregnancy placed at 24%. This means that one in every four girls becomes pregnant in her teenage years.