Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has said there is need for Malawians to self-regulate on the number of children they have as one way of controlling population growth.
In an interview after officially launching the 2018 Population and Housing Census Publicity and Count Down Campaign at Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe, Gondwe said the higher the population the lower the national per capita income and poverty levels.
He said: “There isn’t much we can do to control our population. We need people to self-regulate to control having large families. Huge families affect population and the more it grows the lower the national per capita income leading to more poverty.”
The Finance Minister said the country’s per capita income is “just above 400 dollars per person” against the current population.
He added: “If we only had half the population, we could have 800 dollars per person, meaning that we would have less poverty in the country. We have to control the population.”
Government, through the National Statistics Office (NSO), will in September this year conduct a Population and Housing Census to compile, analyse, publish and disseminate demographic, economic and social data information of all persons and their living quarters. The census is conducted every 10 years.
Gondwe, therefore, said the census will help the country have reliable data which is scientifically correct to help in planning of programmes that will have a socio-economic impact.
NSO says it needs $20 million (about K14.8 billion) to conduct the census and currently they have sourced over $18 million (about K13.3 billion).
In her remarks, commissioner of statistics Mercy Kanyuka said NSO is prepared for the exercise.
She said Malawi conducts censuses to generate current and reliable data for development planning, policy formulation, service delivery, monitoring and evaluating programmes.
Said Kanyuka: “We started preparations a long time ago with census mapping. All areas are mapped and now we are doing the publicity launch which will assist civic educating people on the exercise. Our aim is for everyone to be included.”
Malawi conducted the most comprehensive census in 1966. Other censuses were conducted in 1977, 1987, 1998 and 2008.
For the first time, census enumerators will use tablets to record data instead of the traditional paper based questionnaire. n