Govt looking for alternate methods to hold census | Pakistan Today

Govt looking for alternate methods to hold census

SBP governor updates Finance Minister Dar on banks’ role in implementation of AML laws and reporting mechanism

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday sought help from international experts to recommend alternate methods to hold the much delayed national housing and population census in the country.

Addressing an international conference on the population census organised by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics in coordination with UNFPA, the minister said that the government had made all the preparations for holding the census in March 2016 but difficulty in providing security led to its postponement.

However, he said that it was the PML-N government which conducted the last census in the country in 1998 and the 6th population census would also be held by the incumbent government. It is imperative to have a correct number of the total population of the country which gives the government the right idea of the economic needs of the people and the resources required to meet them.

The minister said it was in March last year that the government took the decision to go ahead with the holding of the census in March 2016. It was also decided that the 1998 model would be followed and the Pakistan Army would be deployed to ensure the security of census men and materials as well as to provide credibility to the data collection operation.

He said resources were allocated and made available to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and preparations were on. However, the necessary army personnel required for the task could not be made available on the proposed dates due to its commitments in the Zarb-e-Azb operation against terrorists. The issue, he said, has since been reviewed and it has been decided to postpone the census to a date when the required force could be made available.

The minister said that Pakistan is fighting a war against terrorism and operation in North Waziristan is a costly one. “It is a big ticket item. We have borne cost of $2.5 billion all by ourselves for Zarb-e-Azb, care of TDPs and rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the affected area.”

The minister said that census is a huge exercise. Presently, the country has over 166,000 census blocks which require posting and training of nearly 200,000 enumerators and supervisors. It has been estimated that the census exercise will cost around Rs 14 billion. This is in addition to the support being provided by the country’s development partners, especially the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), who have long supplemented the government’s efforts through financial, material and technical support.

UNFPA Country Director Dr Hassan Motashami in his address reiterated that full support of his organisation will be provided in the conduct of the population census in Pakistan.


Finance Minister Dar also held a meeting with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor at the Governor House on Monday. Deputy governors of SBP and other senior officials also participated in the meeting.

During the meeting the performance and achievement of the targets set under the IMF programme were discussed in detail in connection with the upcoming 12th IMF Review Meeting. The SBP governor briefed the minister about various targets related to the SBP such as Net International Reserves and Net Domestic Assets.

The SBP governor also updated the minister on the role of banks in implementation of AML laws and reporting mechanism. The role of Financial Monitoring Unit, in this regard, was also discussed in detail.

The finance minister emphasised that the SBP, SECP, and FBR should adhere to internationally recognised monitoring and enforcement standards and practices to apprehend malpractices in the country. He emphasised on updating laws, if required, to eradicate undesirable practices.

He said that the best possible coordination among all the relevant authorities should be ensured to effectively combat financing of terrorism activities. He said that we must all ensure compliance with FATF rules, so as to maintain our position as a responsible nation in the international community.

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