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Tab purchase delay halts census

Staff Correspondent
21 Dec 2021 00:00:00 | Update: 21 Dec 2021 01:09:47
Tab purchase delay halts census

A proposal to procure computer tablets for the project of Population and Housing Census-2021 was turned down for the third time by the cabinet committee on public purchase on Monday.

Additional Secretary of Cabinet Division Md Shamsul Arefin confirmed the matter in a press briefing after a meeting of the cabinet committee on public purchase.

The proposal to procure 3.95 lakh tablets from Fair Electronics Limited was at the last stage, which was only waiting for the approval from the committee.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has a legal obligation to conduct the census this year as census is normally carried out in every 10 years. The last census was carried out in 2011.

The government has to pay Tk 537.12 crore for procuring 3.95 lakh tablets while each of the devices will cost Tk 13,598.

Shamsul Arefin said the government is scrutinising the project carefully as the tablets will be procured from a local company. “Hopefully the proposal will be placed again at the cabinet committee meeting within the next 10 days,” he said.

Earlier, a project to collect information through tablets under National Security Development (NSD) of BBS failed in Rangpur and Nilphamari.

“The rationality of conducting a census using computer tabs is questionable,” he said.

On the other hand, the census operation remains uncertain due to the delay in tab purchase as the government aims to collect and secure information digitally this time.

The country’s first population census was carried out in 1974.

Subsequently, four more censuses were conducted in 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2011.

Besides, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said, “We want to use locally manufactured devices, which is taking more time. We do not want to purchase imported products as our capable local companies should also get the chance.”

“We would try to be self-reliant and avoid using imported products if good quality devices are available in the country,” he added.