(Freetown, 10 January 2020) The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has met with members of the Taskforce on Civil Registration, Vital Statistics (CRVS) and ID Management at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to update them on the current status of CRVS and Identity Management in Sierra Leone.
Welcoming members of the Task Force, the Media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Director-General of NCRA, Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi, who served as the Chairman of the occasion, commended them for honoring the invitation to attend the meeting.
The Director-General of NCRA paid a special tribute to the African Development Bank (AFDB) for joining other Development Partners to lend support to the NCRA.
He informed them that the purpose of the meeting is to update them on the current activities and the challenges facing the CRVS and ID Management system in the New Year.
The Chairman reminded Taskforce members of the request by the Government of Sierra Leone to the UN in February 2019 to do a Comprehensive Country Assessment (CCA) which was completed through support from UNDP and launched together with the Five-Year Strategic Plan (2019 to 2024) by the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on 9th August, 2019.
He described the CCA as a requirement for the UN to recognize countries for assistance. He revealed that an Assessment was done in 2016 though it was not completed, but through the support and collaboration of the Development Partners of NCRA, a successful CCA was done in 2019.
He said the two documents were shared within and outside Sierra Leone and was acclaimed by the Director Africa Centre for Statistics, Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Oliver Chinganya as “ excellent” because Sierra Leone did the CCA in a short time compared to other African countries which started theirs six years ago but have not yet completed, while other countries are yet to even start.
The Director-General of NCRA further said that the Sierra Leone delegation went to Lusaka, Zambia in October 2019 to attend the 5th African CRVS Conference where they shared the CCA and Strategic Plan of Sierra Leone with other countries during a session when the UN was planning to assess countries for consideration to benefit from the UN Legal Identity Pilot Project.
Mr. Massaquoi disclosed that their delegation expressed interest in the project and presented the CCA and SP, as well as other reports at various meetings held and were able to convince participants at the 5th Conference of African Ministers of CRVS and ID Management that Sierra Leone has done a lot in CRVS and ID Management.
Mr. Massaquoi added that after the presentation, the Sierra Leone delegation expressed interest in the UN Legal Identity Agenda (UN LIA) Pilot Project and the UN informed them later that Sierra Leone has been selected.
The Director-General of NCRA said he wanted to inform them of the coming of experts from the UN Legal Identity Agenda Rapid Assessment Mission in order to assess the current status of CRVS and ID Management and report to UNECA.
He reported that the President of Sierra Leone, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio was aware of the coming of the UN Mission team and pledged the support of his Government to CRVS and ID Management in Sierra Leone.
Director of Policy, Planning and Information at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Francis Smart expressed optimism that with the setting up of NCRA, CRVS and ID Management will succeed in Sierra Leone.
The Child Protection Specialist of UNICEF, Stefano Schwarz, assured that the UN Country Team in Sierra Leone was prepared to collaborate with the Government of Sierra Leone when the team from UN LIA Rapid Assessment Mission visits.
“The purpose of the UN Mission to Sierra Leone is for the sharing of information. What we have done is critical to what the Rapid Assessment Mission delegation is coming for. We stand ready to support the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure that CRVS and ID Management stays,” he assured.
The Executive Secretary of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), William Addo Davies assured Taskforce members that NEC will continue to collaborate with the NCRA.
“Going forward, we will be collaborating with NCRA to extract from the comprehensive civil registration database those who are Sierra Leoneans and those who are 18 years old. Our responsibility is now to assign those extracted to voting centers,” Mr. Davies said.
The Programme Specialist, Governance for UNDP, Josephine Scott-Manga in her contribution disclosed that previous assessment has contributed to the process that is going on now in CRVS and ID Management and pledged the continuous support of UNDP to the work of NCRA.
The EU, AFDB and other Development partners affirmed their support for the work of NCRA.
The Director of ID Management at NCRA, Mohamed Konuwa made a PowerPoint presentation on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) on Legal Identity Management in Sierra Leone.
Among those present were the EU Project Manager for Governance, Ivan.Navas-Fernandeze, the Principal Social Development Officer of AFDB, Mary Nguanya Foday, Senior Director of ICT at the National Revenue Authority (NRA), Gerald Ganda, Head of Programmes, Irish Aid, Joseph Ellie, and representatives from other Agencies.