NCRA engages Financial Stakeholders on Legal Identity Management

Freetown, Tuesday 1st October 2019- The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has engaged banks, financial institutions, the security sector and the media on legal Identity management at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Conference Room in Freetown.

In his address, the Director–General of the NCRA, Mohamed M. MASSAQUOI thanked the various financial stakeholders for honoring his call despite their busy schedules. He told the stakeholders that the primary reason for conveying the meeting was to discuss with them legal identity management issues affecting citizens and non-residents in gaining access to financial services.  

The essence of the meeting Mr. Massaquoi said was as a result of the emerging and genuine   concerns the Authority has received from residents of this country who for identification challenges, have been limited in accessing financial services from financial institutions. “We have had a number of concerns from citizens and non- citizen residents of this country that they are challenged in accessing financial services, either from opening bank accounts or accessing their accounts to transact business because many of them are bearers of expired national identity cards, or have lost their ID Cards or do not have ID Cards” the Director General said.

He further disclosed that prior to the establishment of the NCRA by an Act of Parliament in 2016, many institutions were involved in identity management and various kinds of civil registration which were fragmented and rendered unreliable. The Director-General informed the financial institutions and all present that “The NCR Act of 2016 provides for the issuance of biometric identity cards to Citizens and Non- citizen residents in the country and identity management in Sierra Leone.”

The Director–General said that in a bid to ameliorate identification challenges faced by residents of this country in accessing financial institutions, the NCRA has put in place some measures that they are now applying to aid people who present themselves to various public and financial institutions for services by issuing them certified, securitized and multipurpose identification certificate. This Certificate of Registration the Director-General said, bears the personal details of registrants which he said will serve as a temporary form of identification. He noted that the Authority has a database of 5,200,000.  “The Authority manages an integrated civil registration system and identity management and as NCRA we are the institution responsible for legal identity in this country; we have the mandate by law according to the NCR Act of 2016” Mr. Massaquoi maintained

Presenting a copy of the Certificate of Registration of Citizenship to financial stakeholders, the Director–General assured them that the certificate is highly securitized and cannot be duplicated. “This document gives a clear picture of who you are, what you are and it is securitized in a way that it cannot be duplicated” he confirmed.

Mr. Massaquoi appealed to all financial stakeholders to accept the certified and securitized certificate the Authority is issuing out to residents of this country. He noted that the delay in the production of legal identity cards is not deliberate, but rather a calculated mechanism by the Authority to ensure that due processes are being followed. The Director-General assured the financial stakeholders that the multipurpose identity cards will be produced before the end of 2019. “Identity cards are delicate instruments; the process that should lead, warrant or inform issuance of ID Cards must be followed as the law prescribes” he added.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Samuel Gbonda of the Apex Bank thanked the Director – General for his continued strides in ensuring that legal identity management becomes a reality in the country. He said that as financial institutions rendering services to the people of this country, they are always ready to comply with the NCRA in ensuring that the challenges faced by citizens and non- citizens of this country in accessing financial or public institutions for business transaction is mitigated.

The meeting was well attended and chaired by the Director of Information Education and Communication of NCRA, Mr. Thomas P. Sowa.

I.E.C Directorate, National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA)

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