The Director-General of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi has called on the Government of Sierra Leone to give more logistical and financial support to enable the Authority effectively carry out the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and National Identity management process.
The call was made to members of the 2020 Budget Committee, Civil Society and other participants, during the presentation of the Authority’s 2020 Financial Year Budget at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown.
Presenting the NCRA 2020 proposed budget, the Director-General reminded the gathering of the Authority’s commitment to support and implement President Julius Maada Bio’s pledge to strengthen our civil registration and vital statistics system. The Director-General further noted that the NCRA is determined to work in line with global best practice in civil registration, vital statistics and national identity management.
Mr. Massaquoi explained how the Authority, within a year, has successfully been able to clean government’s payroll of fraudsters and non-civil servants who have been receiving salaries from government payroll even though they do not work for the Government of Sierra Leone. The Director-General requested that to ensure the effective performance of other government departments and agencies such as the National Revenue Authority (NRA), the National Social Security Trust (NASSIT) and many others, government needs to strengthen the NCRA to enable it carry out its functions properly.
According to the NCRA Director-General, the NCRA’s effective performance would enable other institutions to make better decisions on issues such as tax collection, electioneering process and national statistical data projection.
Stressing the relevance of the NCRA, Mr. Massaquoi went on to explain that in 2018, the NCRA helped government save up to Sixty billion Leones after it carried out thorough verification of the government’s payroll system which for several decades has been swindled by non-civil servants (ghost workers).
The Director-General also informed the gathering about the recent deployment of his staff members across the sixteen districts in the country.
“Plans are underway to deploy more NCRA workers in almost all major towns to make it easier for the recording of all vital events happening in the country,” he disclosed and added that, “I am here with my team to inform you that we are ready to deliver.”
Outlining the challenges faced by the Authority, he cited the lack of adequate funding and logistical support. He therefore urged the Budget Committee members, CSOs and members of the fourth estate to appeal to government to approve the NCRA 2020 budget.
Alhaji M.S Kanneh from Bonthe District assented to the request and encouraged the Budget Committee to give positive consideration to NCRA’s 2020 budget. He asked that in addition to the seventeen vehicles requested for in the budget, the Authority should be provided with outboard engines for sea and river travels to riverine areas.
Responding to the NCRA Director General, Marcella Samba of Campaign for Good Governance, Charles Mambu of Health for All Coalition and other heads of various Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as well as representatives from several districts across the country commended Mr. Mohamed M. Massaquoi for providing the required leadership at the NCRA.
The Budget Committee commended the NCRA Director-General for tracking down ‘ghost workers’ on government payroll and for the introduction of the unique and non-reusable National Identity Number (NIN) which has made it easier for certain MDAs to restrict and control reduplication and forgery of identity documents.
Some members of the Budget Committee warned that key government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) stand to fail on their core mandates if the CRVS process is not properly handled by the NCRA. They therefore urged for support of the Authority’s proposed budget.