Use Census Data For Development, Counties Told

The Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS), Eugene Wamalwa is urging the 47 county governments to use the just-released 2019 census data for development in spite of the noise that the results were doctored.

Wamalwa said census played an important process in the pursuit of sustainable development noting that ‘accurate and timely census and statistics play a vital role in national growth’.

On Monday, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics released the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing census results showing the country has 47.6 million people.

It shows that Kenya’s population has grown by 9.9 million since 2009 when the last census was held to reach 47.6 million this year.

Speaking in Kwale on Tuesday while addressing the 2019 Annual National Planners Convention organized by the Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP), Wamalwa said counties should utilize the census data for the successful planning and implementation of development projects.

The CS said the 2019 census results is the first under the devolved system of governance ushered in 2013 and urged the counties to align their budgets and development initiatives using the comprehensive population and housing data.

Wamalwa who was in the company of Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, and Public Works Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Chris Obure, termed the 2019 census as ‘the best-managed census we ever had.

Those who are already making noise that the results were doctored are people who fear their areas will receive fewer resources in the sharing of the national cake but rest assured it was done professionally, he said at the forum held at the Diani Reef Beach Resort.

Instead of poking holes in the census results, we should all embrace it and use it in decision making, he said.

The Minister said data is critical to national development and implementation of major policy decisions and urged the counties to use the same in resource allocation to the sub-counties and ward levels.

Obure, a former Finance Minister reiterated that official statistics were very important in national policy decision making processes noting that official statistics in economic development could not be overemphasized.

The CAS said statistics helped address the needs of the people in terms of socio-economic and political developments.

At the same time, Wamalwa urged counties to employ qualified and experienced planning officers regretting that most devolved units have ignored the role of planning which is critical in development.

It is sad to note that cities like Mombasa and Kisumu do not have planning officers at a time Nakuru and Eldoret are gaining city status, he said.

He said the country’s population is growing fast such that in the near future, half of the people will be living in urban areas hence the need for proper planning to check the proliferation of informal settlements.

Fast increasing population means that planning professionals should be encouraged to play a greater role in the planning process, said Wamalwa.

Source: Kenya News Agency