(Freetown, Thursday 27 February, 2020). The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has met with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to update them on the confirmation of personal details and continuous registration scheduled to start on March 24th 2020.
Addressing the gathering at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Director-General of NCRA, Mr. Mohamed M. Massaquoi informed the Civil Society representatives that the meeting is a continuation of their engagement with the Authority and other stakeholders including Development Partners. He informed them that the Authority will soon start the confirmation of all registered registrants details and the registration of those who have not registered with the Authority’s biometric civil registration system. He reported that since 2016, the various phases of registrations carried out has so far recorded 75% of the population amounting to 5.1 million while the Authority is hopeful of capturing the remaining 25% of the country’s population of 7.1 as reported by Stats SL after the 2015 Population and Housing Census.
Explaining the NCRA mandates to the CSOs, the DG said that the Authority is responsible for registering on a continuous basis the vital events of citizens and non-citizen residents of Sierra Leone and to develop a comprehensive civil register that would inform other key functional registers of institutions including but not limited to, financial institutions, Stats Sierra Leone, National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), National Electoral Commission(NEC), Development Partners, Foreign Missions in Sierra Leone as well as the Government for socio-economic and resource distribution and planning. In the same spirit, it is the responsibility of the NCRA to prepare and produce National Identification cards among others, the Director General informed the CSOs’.
“NCRA keeps informing you about plans to verify and register the remaining 25% of the national population” DG told the CSOs. He however, told them of challenges the authority is faced with in producing identification cards. “Citizens are mounting pressure on us to produce ID Cards but there are challenges ranging from misspelling of names and a whole lot of other issues,” he explained.
The NCRA DG urged members of various CSOs present to continue to support and work with the Authority as he reminded them that a good number of them participated in the drafting of the NCR Act of 2016, hence they need to continue to work with the Authority in sensitizing the general public on the importance of civil registration and that everyone must get involved in the CRVS and ID Management process.
The Director of Operations and Services at the NCRA, Mr. Abu Bakarr Javombo presented a detailed activity plan for the upcoming confirmation of registrant’s personal details. During the step by step presentation to the CSOs, Mr. Javombo explained the various processes involved in the planned confirmation to ensure efficiency, accuracy, promptitude and security of the personal information of all registrants. He assured the audience of the readiness of the NCRA to carry out nationwide confirmation of registrants registered details.
Similar pertinent information of the confirmation and registration exercise was shared by the Acting Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Mr. Jusufu Henry Swaray who assured the CSOs’ on the reliability and security of the software NCRA is using to carryout it’s activities particularly in areas of registration, storage and retrieval of vital details of all registrants.
Responding, members of various CSOs who graced the meeting commended the NCRA for striving to develop a comprehensive National Civil Register. They however raised few concerns relating to the safety of all registrant’s personal details, the types of software NCRA used to gather these data and a host of other questions, all of which were clearly answered by the NCRA team.
The CSOs assured the NCRA of their willingness and interest to continue to be a part of the CRVS process in order to ensure that no one is disenfranchised and also keep the process very transparent in the spirit of leaving no one behind. The DG- NCRA concluded by encouraging all CSOs present to continue to work with the NCRA in every step along the way on the CRVS and ID Management processes in order to add value and to ensure fairness and inclusivity.