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Zimbabwe National Population Census Ends

Zimbabwe's national population census was expected to end midnight Monday with enumerators set to hand over data collection material to supervisors for processing field reports starting Tuesday.

Population Census and Surveys Manager Washington Mapeta of the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency said the exercise was on schedule in all provinces despite reports in certain areas that some people were not counted.

Some have also criticized the research methods applied in the national census saying they were not suitable for Zimbabwe.

There were also reports that several enumerators threatened to withhold data collection material because of outstanding daily allowances.

People in various areas including Mhondoro in Mashonaland West, Matabeleland North's Lupane District and other regions told Studio 7 LiveTalk they were not counted and suggested that the program should be extended.

There were also fears that some areas might have been left out due to inaccessibility, a development critics said may contribute to the production of incorrect population figures.

But Mapeta said the program covered almost all parts of the country.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said government is pleased with the way in which the program was carried out.

Biti told a press conference in Harare that results of the census will be published before the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2013 after the processing of data collected by over 31,000 enumerators.

At the same time, Biti said the government will not allow bakers in Zimbabwe to increase the price of bread following a threat by the National Bakers Association to do so citing high import duty on flour.

The finance minister said the proposed increases were unjustified as the country still has large quantities of wheat for producing bread.

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