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Uganda procuring biometric devices for 2024 census

Uganda procuring biometric devices for 2024 census

Uganda’s Bureau of Statistics (Ubos) says it is in the process of procuring biometric devices to be used for a delayed national population and housing census scheduled to begin on May 10, 2024.

The exercise, which had earlier been programmed for August 24 and 25 this year, was put off after Ubos failed to secure the necessary funding for the project, The Observer reports.

The statistics agency had reportedly requested for 132 billion Ugandan shillings (US$34.8 million) to procure 120,000 devices.

This will be the first population and housing census in Uganda in ten years and also the first to be conducted digitally, the outlet quotes Ubos Executive Director Dr. Chris Mukiza as saying.

Speaking during an event to launch the African Statistics Week activities in Uganda, Mukiza said work has been ongoing to map out every household and to assign a geo-code to it. This code, he said, shall be keyed into customized tablets that will be used for the exercise.

The official added that the procurement process has begun as the government is at the level of signing the contract with a biometric equipment supplier. The contractor is not identified.

He said all the data, including fingerprints that will be collected by enumerators during the census, will be processed digitally, unlike before when the system was paper-based.

About the devices, Mukiza disclosed that 38,000 of them will be equipped with biometric features to allow fingerprint capture for citizen registration by the national ID-issuing authority (the National Identification and Registration Authority), as well as for voter registration by the elections management agency (the Electoral Commission). Some of the devices, he noted, will be used by local government authorities for their information systems.

A spokesman for Ubos, Didacus Okoth, is quoted as saying that 87 percent of all households in the country have been mapped out already.

Ahead of the census, Ubos estimates that Uganda currently has 45.5 million people. The last census in 2014 showed the country had 34 million citizens.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is scheduled to launch the census on November 30.

Nigeria is another African country expected to conduct a population and housing census next year after plans to have the exercise done this year failed. In August, a socio-political organization urged the government to factor in biometrics during the exercise to enhance the accuracy of its outcome.

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