Census likely to cost over Rs21bn

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Finance is likely to request the provinces to share the additional expenditure sought by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) for involvement of higher number of armed forces personnel in the population census starting from March 15, 2017.

An official on condition of anonymity said that additional expenditures required for census are likely to be discussed in the Finance Ministry today (Tuesday), subsequent to receiving proposals from the PBS.

When contacted, Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa said that there would be involvement of 200,000 Army personnel in the population census an against earlier estimate of 84,000.

The deployment of armed forces personnel across the country would entail expenses of their movement as well transport. As a result, the expenditure for the census would also increase. The PBS would finalise and submit a proposal of additional funds required for census to the Finance Division.

Sources said the Finance Ministry would request the provinces to share the additional expenditure and a proposal in this regard would be prepared and put to the Prime Minister for approval. According to a preliminary estimate, the expenditure of census is likely to cross Rs21 billion against the earlier estimate of Rs14 billion.

Sources said the Finance Ministry has expressed its readiness to provide the additional expenditure for the census.

The government has decided to involve the armed forces in the census to lend it credibility and delay in census was attributed to the Armys heavy engagement in operations against militants and extremists.

The PBS has given training to 158,295 people for 168,120 blocks across the country to conduct the exercise. A meeting of the CCI in 2016 decided to hold the census under the supervision of armed forces at man-to-man level.

-Business Recorder