(Port Loko, North-Western Region, Tuesday 23 November, 2021) – With support from the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has concluded a two-day nationwide regional stakeholders’ consultative meeting for the North-Western Region in Portloko City, on the Review of the draft National Civil Registration Act of 2016 and Development of Civil Registration Regulations.
The meeting was held at the Port Loko District Council Hall in Port Loko City.
The consultative sessions would give stakeholders in the North-Western Region the opportunity to review, discuss and make valuable inputs where necessary from their respective perspectives on the proposed draft documents.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of the meeting, David Ngaiteh Kamara, Senior ICT Officer at the Ministry of Internal Affairs said that the essence of the meeting was for stakeholders to look at the reviewed draft provisions in the NCRA Act of 2016, the proposed Civil Registration Regulations and make constructive inputs and valuable contributions therein before the final draft would be taken to cabinet for approval.
He informed participants present that NCRA which is supervised by the Ministry of Internal Affairs was established by an Act of parliament in 2016 to register among other things all vital events occurring in the lives of citizens and non-citizens resident in Sierra Leone.
He encouraged participants to put all efforts necessary into the two-day consultative meeting. He urged all to support the process going forward, as their valuable contributions would be of paramount importance to the draft documents.
Making a statement, Chairman, Port Loko District Council, Ibrahim Santigie Bangura expressed his thanks and appreciation to NCRA for giving the opportunity to stakeholders to participate in the review process of the NCR Act and the development of other regulations.
He noted that it was very important for any state institution to have laws that will guide it’s day-to-day operations.
“Laws are very much necessary and they are the machines that will help to lubricate the movement of that institution,” he added.
He asked that after the adoption of the said documents, NCRA should ensure they roll out outreach activities that would enable people to know what the Authority is all about and how they, as stakeholders, could encourage their people to cooperate with the NCRA and register their vital events. He said it is hoped that their inputs would be taken into consideration which would be for the best interest of not only the people of Port Loko but the entire nation as a whole.
Speaking on behalf of the DG of NCRA, the Agt. Deputy Director of Administration of NCRA, Abraham Lansana Turay informed participants that the meeting was for stakeholders to review the draft NCR Act of 2016 and other proposed Civil Registration Regulations that would help the Authority to deliver on its mandate effectively.
“We are joining other State mandated institutions to work towards the development of Sierra Leone and also to enhance the functions of those institutions,” he stated.
He informed participants that the NCRA was established by an Act of Parliament among other things to conduct compulsory registration of citizens and non-citizens resident in Sierra Leone; to provide for the issuance of identity cards, and to be responsible for the registration of births, adoptions, deaths, marriages, divorces and nullities throughout Sierra Leone and other related matters.
He said that as per the NCR Act, there are things NCRA should do which are very similar to things that other state institutions are already doing hence the European Union and the UNDP, as key Development Partners in the CRVS and ID Management process in Sierra Leone has thrown their support behind the review process of the National Civil Registration Act in a bid to rectify all legal creases that may hinder the effective and efficient functioning of the NCRA.
Mr. Turay informed stakeholders that the move by the Authority is to foster and strengthen partnership and not rivalry, and also to complement the work of other state institutions in the country.
He assured participants that after the regional consultations, some of them would be called upon during the validation process in order to complete the process and claim ownership. Therefore, Mr. Turay implored all participants present to give their all, in order to make the process a success.
In his submission, His Worship the Mayor of Port Loko City, Abu Bakarr ZoZo Kamara welcomed participants and commended NCRA for coming to their region to seek their respective and valuable contributions. The Mayor also said that the comments gathered from stakeholders in this region would not only enhance the functionality of the draft documents, but will also stand the test of time and records of the NCRA.
He also urged NCRA to ensure that they popularize these documents extensively after the entire consultative process.
He officially declared the sessions open and encouraged all stakeholders present to take the process very seriously by adding their voices to a national document like such.
During the meeting, the National Legal Consultant, Augustine S. Marrah Esq, made Power Point presentations on the proposed Amended National Civil Registration Act and Regulations and on the proposed Regulations on National Identity Number (NIN) and National Identity Card (NIC) on the second day.
During his presentations, he informed participants that the consultation process would seek to elicit the views and sentiments of stakeholders, adding that their keen attention and contributions to the process are of paramount importance. He added that participants should scrutinize the draft documents and make substantial contributions and recommendations.
Moses T. F Vibbie, Senior ICT Manager, NCRA, responded to and took stakeholders through their concerns and questions of spelling mistakes, mismatch of names, storage and security of the data, registration of disables without fingers, identity and supporting documents for accurate registration and data sharing with other institutions. He also detailed the importance of the National Identification Number (NIN) as a magic number that enables citizens and non-citizens resident in Sierra Leone to access digital and government services in the country including Payroll, Social Security, Tax, Education, Health, Driver’s License etc. He added that the proposed National Identity Card will be well secured with latest security features to ensure maximum security and durability.
He concluded his response by assuring stakeholders of the security, accuracy and credibility of NCRA’s systems and data, whilst encouraging everyone to visit NCRA’s registration offices for corrections, updates and registration purposes along with supporting documents as NCRA is the only authoritative hub for recording and providing identity data in Sierra Leone.
It could be recalled that the regional consultations had been conducted in the other four regions, starting with the Western Area.
The 2-day consultative session in the North-Western Region was climaxed by group presentations, discussions and questions and answer sessions. The closing courtesies was delivered by Alpha Jalloh, Deputy-Director of External Relations, NCRA.
In attendance were representatives of various MDAs in the region, Civil Society Organizations, the Media and a cross section of senior staff of NCRA.
©️ IEC Directorate, NCRA.