The Ministry of Planning said on Thursday that the government has earmarked $8 million for the general census to be conducted next year.
Funding will come entirely from the national budget, with China and the United Nations Population Fund Cambodia (UNFPA) providing equipment and technical assistance respectively after some Western donors withdrew aid.
During a handover ceremony of Chinese aid at the ministry on Wednesday, Minister Chhay Than said the census, which is conducted every 10 years, is crucial for the government to draft effective and balanced national policies.
“Population census is a critical job that requires a lot of expenses. Most developing countries cannot take sole responsibility without donors’ aid. The 2019 national census will be the first and historic census in which Cambodia uses funding solely from the national budget, with no foreign support,” he said.
Chinese aid for the Kingdom’s third census, which starts from March 3-13, 2019, includes 52 cars, 300 motorbikes, 450 desktop computers, 50 laptops, 30 printers, 30 slide projectors, 10 photocopy machines, 200 tablets and three internet servers.
The government has estimated that Cambodia’s population will reach 16 million next year.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director Sorn Chey said it does not matter where the funding comes from, as long as the census is accurate.
“In order for the census to be accurate and reliable, it has to be scientifically based. Hiring foreign experts with technical expertise and practical experience in the field would be a good thing. Because we are using the national budget, we can hire them."
“Information that is politically [sensitive], such as the number of Vietnamese-Cambodians, should also be accounted for. It’s something that we also want to know,” he said.