By Sisay Sahlu
ADDIS ABEBA – The House of People’s Representatives and the House of Federation have approved government’s decision to postpone the fourth population and Housing census.
The houses approved the decision in a joint session they held on Monday. Accordingly, the census, rescheduled to take place from April 7-28, 2019, has been postponed by a year.
In March, the Population and Housing Census Commission said that Ethiopia was not ready to conduct the fourth population and Housing census, and proposed for it to be postponed.
The commission, overseen by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen, cites security concerns as reason for their decision.
Works have not been fully completed to conduct reliable census in parts of the country as result, they said in the motion presented to the houses.
The houses held a separate discussion on the motion before deciding jointly on the fate of the census.
‘Dozens vote against’
A significant number of parliamentarians opposed the motion before its eventual approval.
The delay shows failure and weakness of government to execute its works based on the rule and regulation and on time, one MP said.
“What is our assurance whether it will be conducted or not next year,” he inquired.
Another MP, Mule Gebreegziabher, criticized the proposal, which she said would cost the country dearly.
“The government has already budgeted billions of Br and a lot has been invested so far,” she said, the delay, could make all these investments go down the drain.
“The census has to be conducted as per the schedule,” she implored members of the two houses. The appeal, however, failed to convince the majority.
And the Houses passed the motion to postpone the census by majority vote while 30 vote against and 3 abstentions.
The fourth national census was initially set to be held on November 2017 with over 3.5 billion Br secured from both government coffer and donors. But security concerns have forced the government to postpone.
Ethiopia’s last census was in 2007, and the constitution requires one every 10 years.