Nigeria approves US$5.4 million for first digital census

Nigeria approves US$5.4 million for first digital census

The Nigerian government has approved some $5.4 million for its first digital census—coming 17 years after the last census.

The new date for the maiden digital population census is March 29 to May 2023. Originally the exercise was to end in April. Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed was reported as saying the census was shifted to accommodate the country’s gubernatorial elections which was also postponed by a week in March.

The news comes on the heels of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approving ₦‎2.8 billion ($5.4 million) for the procurement of the software that will be used for its first digital census.

In February, the FEC also approved an ₦85 billion ($184 million) contract for the provision of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) required for the census. The contract was awarded to Zinox Technologies, a pioneer original equipment manufacturer in West Africa. “We are deploying all our resources to make sure it is successful,” Kelechi Okonta, MD of Zinox Technologies, said.

It is unclear, at this moment, what software the latest fund will be used to acquire. The Nigerian government, however, budgeted ₦177.33 billion ($385 million) for the digital census project.

It is also unclear how successful the Nigerian government will be in implementing tech solutions for national projects; it already has a poor reputation in this area. For its recently concluded general elections, the federal government budgeted about $663 million for the acquisition and use of digital tech devices like the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). On the day of its presidential election, the system flopped and INEC reported that—despite its huge budget and one-year timeframe—the system was not prepared to be used on such a large scale

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