Census taking extended till Tuesday

The national bureau of statistics has decided to extend the ongoing census taking process till next Tuesday (September 30), reports local media.

While the process was complete in most atolls, the bureau explained that complete information had not been gathered from some households in the capital Malé.

Census takers were facing difficulties in meeting people after making appointments, the bureau noted.

The census taking was scheduled to take place from September 20 to 27 in the first time national data has been collected since 2006.

The last census was conducted in 2006 by the Ministry of Planning and Development, which found the population to be 298,968.

In March 2013, the now-defunct department of national planning announced that the census would be conducted in September 2014 under the slogan “count me in.”


MDP warns of a census boycott if authorities fail to find missing journalist

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said it will consider a boycott of the overdue national census if authorities fail to find missing Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla.

Newly elected Vice President Mohamed Shifaz said the motion would require endorsement by the party’s National Council.

Rilwan – believed to have been abducted – has now been missing for 34 days. The Maldives Police Services has been criticised for its failure to reveal information regarding the investigation.

“President Abdulla Yameen’s government has been negligent towards a Maldivian citizen. We will stand up against that negligence. So we [will ask the National Council] to endorse a boycott of a census held without Rilwan,” Shifaz told the press at a briefing this morning.

“I do want to note the importance of a census. But when we do not know what happens to Maldivians, when citizens have been disappeared, I do not believe we should proceed with a census.”

The census – scheduled to take place between September 20 and 27 – will be the first time such national data has been collected since 2006.

Locals from the island of Vilufushi in Thaa Atoll have also announced that they will be boycotting the census, due to the failure to provide permanent residents for those left homeless after the 2004 tsunami.

Department of National Planning’s Assistant Director Fathimath Riyaza has appealed to all parties to support the census, and called on the public to refrain from connecting the census to Rilwan’s disappearance.

“We, too, are extremely concerned and saddened by the journalist’s disappearance. However, it is not our job to look for and find any particular person. I call on the people to refrain from connecting these two things and to give us information about themselves.”


MDP chairperson Ali Waheed said party members had suggested the boycott and said some felt Rilwan’s disappearance was an act of terrorism by the state.

The MDP has remained quiet on the matter following a request by Rilwan’s family not to politicise the issue, but “MDP cannot remain quiet, he is a citizen just like us,” Waheed said.

Criticising President Yameen’s silence on the disappearance, Waheed said the Maldives had “gone off the tracks” since the new government assumed power.

“People are afraid. People are disappearing, and the government does not care. The truth is the government is failing. It’s been a month since a journalist has gone missing, and it does not seem to be a big deal to the government. The truth is we have regressed 30 years,” he said.

Since Yameen’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) holds a majority in the parliament, the president cannot throw off responsibility for the state of the nation, he added.

The government’s actions intimidate the press, he said and criticised the government for its failure to provide security for MPs who have also received death threats.

The MDP will embark on a series of actions to hold the government accountable, starting with a rally at the Alimas Carnival in Malé on Thursday, activating internal party committees on government accountability and preparations for upcoming local council by-elections.

The party has also set up a desk to improve relationship between the MDP leadership and councilors, he said.


Arguing there is room to believe Rilwan has been disappeared, Waheed also appealed to the government to clarify the nature of Rilwan’s disappearance.

“The government’s actions are unlike any other in a case of disappearance. Comments made by senior government officials in press conferences suggest he has been abducted. Instead of commenting directly on the matter, every one is suggested he will be found alive,” he said.

Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim last week said he had hope Rilwan would be found safe and sound.

The PPM dominated parliamentary committee on independent institutions oversight in August rejected a motion to summon and question the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) and Police Integrity Commission (PIC) on Rilwan’s disappearance.

MDP MP Rozaina Adam said the party would table the same request once again.

Rilwan’s family has previously submitted a petition to the Majlis with 5000 signatures calling on MPs to find answers to questions as yet unanswered by police. Local NGO Maldives Democracy Network has also released an open letter raising a number of issues regarding the cases’s progress.


Census taking underway for Maldivians in Trivandrum

A special programme has been launched for census taking of the Maldivian diaspora in Trivandrum, India, reports newspaper Haveeru.

The census started on Saturday and  78 census forms had been filled so far, according to Ibrahim Nadheeh, president of Maldivian Social Community (MSC).

MCS was founded by the Maldives Consulate in Trivandrum and Maldivians living in Trivandrum. About 3,000 Maldivians reside in the southernmost Indian city.

Nadheeh said that he expected the census to be completed within a week and noted that proper records of Maldivians living in the city would be helpful in the future.

“In addition to this, we have plans to teach Quran, Islam and Dhivehi here. With the completion of the census, we can find out the number of children who live here,” he was quoted as saying.

In late 2012, the government announced that a national census would be conducted in 2014. The last census was conducted in 2006 by the Ministry of Planning and Development, which found the population to be 298,968.

In March 2013, the department of national planning announced that the census would be conducted in September next year under the slogan “count me in.”


National census scheduled to commence in September 2014

The Department of National Planning (DNP) has announced it is to carry out a national census in September next year, local media has reported.

Speaking to local media on Thursday (March 21), DNP Assistant Director Fathimath Riyaza stated that the census will take place from September 20 to September 27, and will be advertised under the slogan of “count me in”.

“We will visit the houses this time too, and gather information of the number of people in each household, along with other information regarding the people in the household,” Riyaza was quoted as saying in local media.

A total of 3327 enumerators are to be employed to collect the information next year, and that upcoming census will include information on foreigners living in the country.

Local media reported that Maldives conducted its first census in 1911 and has held a census every five years since 1985.


Government conducting financial survey, and census in 2014

The government has decided to conduct a national census in 2014 while the Department for National Planning is currently conducting an economic survey to gauge the country’s productivity.

The last census was conducted in 2006 by the Ministry of Planning and Development after the 2005 census had been delayed after the previous year’s tsunami.

The first modern census in the Maldives was said to have been carried out in 1977.  Following this, the government conducted the survey once every five years from 1985.

The 2006 census required just under 3000 staff to conduct and collected data relating to the size, geographical distribution, and socio-economic characteristics of the population including age, sex, educational attainments, marital status, and employment.

Data relating to size, geographical distribution, and socioeconomic characteristics of the population such as age, sex, educational attainments, marital status, and employment. will be collected.

The 2006 census found the population to be 298,968 although the most recent statistics from the department give a figure of 330,652.

The Department of National Planning also revealed yesterday that the Planning Ministry’s five-yearly economic study has commenced.

The information gathered from establishments involved in economic activities, between now and next May, will be used to determine the country’s productivity as well as to re-base GDP, local media has reported.

Real GDP – which uses a base year to measure the growth of an economy, in order to take account of price changes – currently takes 2003 as the base year, although the last economic survey was conducted in 2007.

Nominal GDP suggests that the Maldivian economy has grown by 261 percent since 2003, while real GDP shows that the rate is just 174 percent.

The 2007 report suggested that the retail, manufacturing and hospitality were the country’s largest employers, provided jobs for 19, 18, 16, percent of the working age population, respectively.

Fishing, traditionally one of the country’s largest employers, only accounted for 7 percent of the workforce according to 2007’s data.

In financial terms, tourism continues to be the economy’s greatest source of income this year, with the most recent figures predicting that over 30 percent of real GDP will come directly from this sector in 2012.

The service sector as a whole is expected to account for just over 80 percent of 2012’s real GDP.

The Minister of Finance and Treasury Abdulla Jihad told the Majlis last month that this year’s budget deficit can be expected to be double the original estimate of MVR3billion (US$195million) – over 18 percent of nominal GDP.