NCRA, Freetown, Monday 28 September 2020-The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has held a one-day consultative meeting of CRVS/ID Management stakeholders to develop procedures, guidelines and instruments for the registration of backlog of vital events in Sierra Leone at the Buxton Memorial Hall, Charles Street, Freetown.
Participants at the meeting included the following: The Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), Statistics Sierra Leone-STATS-SL, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), National Elections Watch, Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL-SL), Media Institutions, District Health Management Team Western Urban and Rural, NCRA’s District Registration Officers (DROs), Regional Registration Officers (RROs), and Senior Management staff.
Welcoming participants during the meeting, the Director of Policy and Planning at the NCRA, Aiah Lebbie Sosokoeneh, who also served as the facilitator of the meeting, noted that the essence of bringing the stakeholders of CRVS/ID Management including the NCRA district and headquarter Management staff was as a recognition of the fact that they are key players in the processes of CRVS/ID Management in the country. He said that while the NCR Act of 2016 is going forward, there is need to go backward and capture the vital events.
Addressing participants on the importance of the consultative meeting, the Director-General of the NCRA, Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi thanked participants for honoring his invitation at a very short notice to participate in the process. The DG said that the essence of the meeting was to brainstorm on the way forward leading to the development of procedures and guidelines that will enhance the registration of backlog of vital events in the country. “Today’s event brings you together to brainstorm on a clear path that will enhance the development of procedures, guidelines and registration instruments or forms, for us to be able to capture vital records/events that occurred before the establishment of the NCRA or before the enactment of the NCR Act of 2016,” Mr. Massaquoi announced.
He also noted that the different thoughts being put together and the show of selfless commitment and solidarity by the participants towards the process will lead to the development of a holistic document which will eventually guide their individual and collective operation and management of vital events in the country.
The Director-General announced to the participants that the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Finance remains committed to support the planned confirmation of registrants’ personal details and the registration of the unregistered population resident in Sierra Leone which was scheduled to take place in March this year but halted by the Covid19 pandemic. “I am pleased to announce to you that with your support, Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Finance is committed to supporting the process for us to undertake that very important activity of confirming the personal details of citizens and non-citizens in this country as well as registering those who may not have registered in the past,” the DG announced.
He added that the NCRA being respecter of law on the regulations guiding the prevention of the Covid 19, has engaged NACOVERC for their advice and to know what can be done should the confirmation exercise was to commence. He assured stakeholders that the regulations and guidelines from NACOVERC will be adhered to fully and comprehensively during the implementation of the exercise. He emphasized that the reason to undertake such exercise cannot be overstated, as the dire need for NCRA data by many institutions such as NASSIT, NRA, financial institutions and others for development and planning purposes has rapidly increased.
The DG maintained that this backlog registration of vital events will enhance the Authority to fully account for all vital events that the law mandated the NCRA to record within Sierra Leone, as enshrined in the NCR Act of 2016. Mr. Massaquoi added that with support from Irish Aid and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) the NCRA thought it fit to hold such a meeting which will inform the Authority on the development of an appropriate registration instruments that are befitting in capturing those vitals events that the NCRA must have missed out before its establishment, noting that the process will guide the operations of the NCRA and ensure a comprehensive work going forward.
The DG reminded participants that there had been series of discussions on the above issue which had already laid a solid foundation going forward. Mr. Massaquoi said that the NCRA has been working within the confines of its mandate, which permits the NCRA by law, to carry out the management of these vital events on a daily, continuous and permanent basis.
The DG thanked the NCRA staff for their selfless service to the Authority and for always supporting his leadership in ensuring that the mandate of the Authority is delivered as expected. “Thank you so much my colleagues of NCRA for always supporting our leadership and making sure that at a short notice, you are available for us to implement the mandate that makes NCRA,” Mr. Massaquoi maintained.
The DG continued that he was very much aware of the fact that participants at the meeting had been contributing to the CRVS/ID Management process in the country. He recognized the singular role played by the stakeholders especially during the Comprehensive Country Assessment on CRVS and ID Management landscape that informed the development of the costed five-year Strategic Plan (2019-2024).
Presenting an overview/objectives and legal framework of the meeting, Lawyer Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai announced that the process of reviewing these existing documents was very much important to the development of the guidelines and instruments that will guide the registration of backlog of vital events by the NCRA in the country. He explained that the backlog registration process if undertaken well will prevent statelessness from becoming predominant in Sierra Leone. Mr. Saffa Abdulai noted that the backlog registration of vital events is very much crucial not only to NCRA but the government as a whole.
He maintained that the NCR Act is the document that consolidates, harmonizes and streamlines civil registration in the country. He said that the need for every resident in Sierra Leone to get equal access to the system and be provided with a unique identification number (NIN) is very much crucial. Group work presentations from participants on the various vital events were made during the meeting.
Present at the meeting also was the Deputy-Director General of the NCRA, John Godswill Lavalie.
©IEC DIRECTORATE, NCRA