(Makeni, Northern Region, Friday 19 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 Northern Region in Makeni City, on the Review of the Draft National Civil Registration Act of 2016 and the Development of Civil Registration Regulations.
The meeting was held at the Royal Hotel Conference Hall in Makeni City.
The consultative sessions would give stakeholders across the country 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 stated that NCRA which 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 is an agency being supervised by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He informed participants that the essence of the meeting was for them as stakeholders to contribute meaningfully to the enhancement of the draft documents leading to it promulgation into law. He also mentioned that the process would give participants the opportunity to look at the reviewed draft provisions of the National Civil Registration Act of 2016 of the Authority and make constructive inputs where necessary before the documents will be taken to cabinet for approval.
He said that the NCRA together with its Development Partners (EU&UNDP) having critically looked at the Act for a while now, and they deemed it very prudent to make it inclusive as possible with the consultation of stakeholder’s views.
The review of certain and/or conflicting provisions of the Civil Registration Act of 2016 would enhance the work of NCRA and other state institutions in the country in dispensing an effective public administration.
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, comments and recommendations would be added to the final draft before submission to Cabinet for approval.
In her statement at the opening ceremony of the meeting, Her Worship the Mayor of Makeni City, Madam Sunkarie Kabba-Kamara said that there was urgent need for NCRA to hold consultations and raise awareness on Civil Registration, Vital Statistics and Identity Management issues in the country. She thanked the Authority for putting together such an important programme that promotes national development.
The Mayor mentioned that such an important process will strengthen and reassure government officials who are involved in the development and planning process, to continue with their services to the country despite challenges faced. She added that she would hope the proposed Act and regulations would address the many challenges faced by residents of Sierra Leone especially those in rural communities to access services provided by NCRA. “It is my hope that the proposed Act and regulations would be in a ‘decentralization focused’ and address the challenges involved in traveling to Freetown for services NCRA provides which cannot be accessed locally,” she said.
The discussions at the end of the process, she went on, would address the many queries on the functions and activities of NCRA.
She noted that government can only efficiently deliver on such initiatives through inclusion; thereby enhancing inclusive growth that is sustainable and leaves no one behind. She added that she wanted to “especially thank the European Union (EU), the European Union Technical Assistance Team and the United Nations Development Programme for their support, and NCRA for their thinking to decentralize this consultative engagement with stakeholders.”
She encouraged all stakeholders to take the process at heart by making valuable contributions and comments to the review process.
Representing the Resident Minister North, Samuel A. J Bullie, Provincial Security Coordinator, North-East expressed his profound gratitude to NCRA for involving stakeholders especially they as security duty bearers in the country in such an important process. He appreciated NCRA for taking such a crucial step in the right direction.
Mr. Bullie stated that the process would help them plan their activities well; develop and formulate policies as well as; improve on operational activities and security dynamics.
He admonished all stakeholders present to make frank and relevant inputs to the draft documents.
Speaking on behalf of the NCRA DG, the Agt. Deputy-Director of Administration of NCRA, Abraham Lansana Turay stated that the NCRA is a state institution mandated by law to compulsorily register citizens and non-citizens resident in Sierra Leone and to also register all vital events occurring in the country, adding that the Authority since its inception has been doing that which is required of it by the Government of Sierra Leone.
“What we have been doing as an institution has involved enhancing the work of other state institutions as well as providing support so that we can all work together in synergy while we achieve the overall objective of state governance,” he said.
He added that NCRA works assiduously so that the Authority records complete and accurate data that would guide development planning and other interventions in the country.
He informed participants that the Authority considers them as stakeholders relevant to the review process, which is why the Authority has decided to solicit their contributions at regional level.
On the first day of the meeting, the National Legal Consultant, Augustine S. Marrah Esq, made a Power Point presentation on the proposed Amended National Civil Registration Act and Regulations. He made presentations on the proposed Regulations on National Identity Number (NIN) and National Identity Card (NIC) on the second day.
During his presentation, he stated that the essence of the consultation was for stakeholders to improve on the draft documents by adding their genuine and relevant contributions to it. He added that the process would also help to harmonize all civil registration processes taking place in the country.
During the interactive question and answer sessions, the senior ICT Manager of NCRA, Moses Vibbie, responded to technical questions and concerns raised by participants relating to Registration coverage, Data security and storage, Data loss and ICT infrastructure. He assured participants of the credibility and security of NCRA’s data and ICT infrastructure. The Deputy-Director of Legal Affairs, Martha Lawalli and the Deputy-Director of External Relations, Alpha Jalloh, also addressed concerns raised by participants about the strength and capacity of the Authority to carry out its mandate effectively.
The 2-day consultative session in the Northern Region was climaxed by group presentations, discussions and question and answer sessions.
In attendance were representatives of various MDAs in the region, Civil Society Organizations, the Media and a cross section of senior staff of NCRA.
The final Regional Stakeholder Consultative Sessions will be held in Port Loko City in the North-Western Region next week.
©️ IEC Directorate, NCRA.