By Azubuike Okeh
Abidjan, April 11, 2014 (NAN) Cote d’Ivoire’s government said on Friday that it has no hidden agenda organising the ongoing national population census in the country.
Minister of Planning and Development Alert Mabri told newsmen in Abidjan that the exercise was purely to generate statistics for development purposes.
Mabri called on the civil society, political parties, religious groups, community associations and other stakeholders to support the exercise.
He said that statistics generated from the housing and population census remained veritable indices for development planning.
“We have held series of meetings with stakeholders, educating them on the need to support this exercise.
“It is clearly for development purposes and has no political undertone as being peddled in some quarters,’’ he said.
The Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party of former President Laurent Gbagbo had accused the government of hidden agenda in the conduct of the exercise.
The FPI said it was unfair to conduct population census when a large number of its supporters were still in exile.
Cote d’Ivoire’s housing and population census, initially scheduled for November 2013 was shifted to 2014.
The government announced that the exercise would cost about 13 billion CFA, out of which the state would provide 72 per cent, while the remaining would be provided by development partners.
The population of Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa beans producer, was last estimated at 23 million. (NAN)