CEN­SUS RE­PORT SHOCKS CAB­I­NET

The shock is said to have come from the fig­ure of about 1.1 mil­lion, which in­di­cates a growth rate of less than a per cent in the 10 years from the last cen­sus in 2007

Observer on Saturday - - Front Page - By Alec Lushaba Ed­i­tor

The re­cent pop­u­la­tion cen­sus re­port is un­der­stood to have shocked Cab­i­net when it was ini­tially pre­sented.

The shock is said to have come from the fig­ure of about 1.1 mil­lion, which in­di­cates a growth rate of less than a per cent in the 10 years from the last cen­sus in 2007.

In fact, World Bank and United Na­tions sta­tis­tics have al­ways pro­jected the Swazi­land pop­u­la­tion at 1.3 mil­lion whilst the United States Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency (CIA) placed the coun­try’s in­hab­i­tants at 1.5 mil­lion. It is only Wikipedia that is ac­cu­rately re­flect­ing the pop­u­la­tion to be at 1.1 mil­lion and it could have been re­vised af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of the re­port yes­ter­day. Eco­nomic Plan­ning and De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Prince Hlan­gusem­phi noted the fig­ures which he said at this stage the re­port is still pre­lim­i­nary. “Our eco­nomics are yet to in­ter­ro­gate the fig­ures to give us a clear pic­ture of what hap­pened. But speak­ing from off the cuff, with­out in­ter­ro­gat­ing the re­port, there are cer­tain trends which we have ob­served which may have con­trib­uted to this num­bers. One of them on the prac­ti­cal side of the cen­sus is that some homes may not have been vis­ited due to some peo­ple who were un­will­ing to par­tic­i­pate in the ex­er­cise. We did re­ceive some re­ports that some peo­ple were threat­en­ing our nu­mer­a­tors with vi­o­lence, or un­leash­ing their dogs on them. That was dis­turb­ing to hear. Fur­ther, in some homes they did not find some peo­ple and did not make sec­ond vis­its.

“But on the other hand, with ed­u­ca­tion, peo­ple are no longer bear­ing many chil­dren or even hav­ing mul­ti­ple part­ners as it used to be the case. Such things have a bear­ing on pop­u­la­tion growth. The level of aware­ness in terms of child plan­ning and preven­tion meth­ods is now high, so such could have also con­trib­uted,” the min­is­ter said.

The min­is­ter said one area which also came out from the re­port is that the num­ber of peo­ple be­tween the ages of 16 and 64 has grown, which means gov­ern­ment will now need to cre­ate more job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“We also ex­pect com­pa­nies to think of ways to cre­ate more job op­por­tu­ni­ties and there is no short­age of skills or work­force based on what we have seen from these num­bers,” he said.

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