By Naneka Hoffman
The National Identification Registry has unveiled plans to increase the number of Liberian citizens carrying national identification cards to one million by end of the year.
NIR Executive Director, Andrews Peters, in a recent news conference in Monrovia, said as part of the plan, formal communications have been sent to all public institutions of learning, cooperate entities, and concession companies, in preparation to have all individuals at those respective entities issued national identification cards.
Mr. Peters said discussions are also taking place between the National Identification Registry and other institutions.
He commended his predecessor, Teah Nagbe, for registering over 600,000 people over the years, adding that he (Peters) wants to increase this number by one million before 2024.
Mr. Peters added that the Liberian government has already spent US$3.2 Million on paying Tecno Brand to set up gadgets for the NIR, noting that the Ministry of Finance assured him of paying a balance of US$2.8 Million owing the company.
According to him, the act establishing the National Registry gives the institution rights to ensure that all Liberians and foreign residents from age six and above are issued valid social security and identification numbers.
“Based on a number of discussions,” he went on, “the Ministries of Labor, Education, public schools, state-owned universities and concession companies will make it mandatory for any person within the confines of these institutions will have to obtain a national identification card.”
The NIR boss also seeks support from government and international partners for funding to provide an identification registry to people who cannot afford welfare institutions, old folks and other vulnerable people.
“We are also holding discussions with the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services, all banking institutions, the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, all GSM companies, the National Commission on Higher Education, Liberia Agricultural Company, and ArcelorMittal –Liberia to make it mandatory for every individual within their confines are identified and issued an identification card.”
“As we are speaking, we have set up a technical committee with LISGIS to cooperate on provision of national identification cards and numbers to the population throughout Liberia.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Peters said the NIR has successfully established 15 centers in the capitals of all counties and begun opening others purposely to renew expired identification cards that have expired.
He appeals to the government to allot more funding to the entity to accelerate and enhance its services to the public particularly in helping to reduce voters trucking as the Registry will link its roster to the voters roll at the National Elections Commission.
“In fact, the connection of the NIR rooster to the NEC voter’s roll and this will eventually reduce the huge money spent on developing VRR whenever there is a presidential and legislative election.” Editing by Jonathan Browne