(Freetown April 13, 2021). The Director-General of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI has engaged Civil Registration, Vital Statistics and Identity Management stakeholders to update them on the Authority’s preparedness to conduct a nationwide confirmation and Registration of Citizens and Non-citizens resident in Sierra Leone at the Ministry of Finance Conference Hall on George Street, Freetown.
Stakeholders included registered Political Parties, PPRC, Civil Society Organizations, NASSIT, National Revenue Authority, Immigration Department, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Statistics Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority, National Electoral Commission, Bank of Sierra Leone, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Accountant General’s Department, Ministry of Finance among others.
In his opening remark, the Director-General (DG) of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) welcome all stakeholders and reminded them of the various meetings the institution had held with them. “As you are aware, we have had several meetings from end of 2019 until late November 2020 on a particular subject that we had planned together, we had consulted well on it, we have endorsed it but also proceed with it until Covid broke out last year Match.”
Mr. MASSAQUOI said that due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the NCRA had put a hold on the Confirmation and Registration exercise to comply with state regulations. He added that since the situation has improved, NCRA has sort clearance from the National Covid-19 Emergency Response Centre (NaCOVERC) to continue with the planned exercise. As a result, the NCRA has decided to consult with the stakeholders involved in CRVS and ID Management in the country again in order to finally agree on the plans.
The DG announced that in a meeting held sometime last year with political parties, CSOs and MDAs, concerns were raised and recommendations were proffered for the consideration of Government of Sierra Leone. Among which were the following:
– Increase the number of centres
– Increase the number of days and
– Increase on the IEC aspect of the exercise.
In response to those concerns and recommendations made by political parties and CSOs, the DG said that the Government has gone beyond the request of political parties and CSOs by increasing the number of days from 8-10 days, the addition of 345 Centers to the initial 1,655 Confirmation Centers bringing the number to 2,000; the provision of Roaming Teams to cover hard-to-reach areas during the period of the exercise and that adequate publicity will be done to inform the public on the process and period.
The DG furthered announced that the confirmation exercise will commence on the 6th May – 28th July 2021.
In his presentation, the Director of operations NCRA, Mr. Abubakarr Javambo talked about the interoperability between different institutions including NaSSIT, NRA, Banking institutions and Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority for the Issuance of license to citizens and Non-citizens in the country. He also informed the Stakeholders about the recruitment of staff for the exercise, noting that staff will be recruited from their various regions or communities. He also confirmed that the number of days and centers have been increased from 8-10 days and from 1,655 to 2,000 centers respectively. He added that the importance and benefit of the confirmation exercise cannot be overemphasized.
Christiana Baun of National Election Watch (NEW) noted that two months will not be enough to go through all the region taking into consideration staff recruitment.
The Secretary General of NUP urged all institutions to follow the work of NCRA whilst Tamba Sandi of C4C confirmed that he will go ahead to confirm the dates with their people to get ready on time.
The Acting Publicity Secretary of the All People’s Congress, Sidie Yahya Tunis stressed on the importance of Civil Registration and Vital statistics. He suggested that the exercise be carried out in a manner where resources cannot be wasted. He suggested to the DG to make available the breakdown by region of all those in the database of the NCRA.
The Chairman and Leader of NGC, Dennis Bright thanked the DG for the routine consultation, ‘this shows a lot of respect’ for the stakeholders.
The Chief Immigration Officer (CIO), Andrew J Kaikai explained that his institution directly benefits from the NCRA in that before they issue out passport, they require NCRA registration certificate.
The Executive Director of Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA), Ibrahim Sannoh said that citizens and non-citizens should have National Identification Number (NIN) before they issue out new or renew drivers’ license. He stated that a hand-held machine will be issued to their staff to verify drivers.
The representative from the Bank of Sierra Leone confirmed that they have informed all financial institutions in the country about the certificate of Registration for opening bank account.
Mr. Tunis in his closing remark said that no one is against the idea of NCRA. He thanked the institution for its consultations. ‘With your inclusiveness approach, we are beginning to feel very comfortable’, he concluded.
*IEC DIRECTORATE, NCRA *