(WATERLOO, WESTERN-RURAL DISTRICT, THURSDAY 5TH MARCH 2020) – The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has engaged stakeholders to present and discuss issues of NCRA operations especially the upcoming confirmation of personal details and the registration of the unregistered population in Sierra Leone. This meeting was held at the Western-Rural District Council Hall in Waterloo which attracted representatives of different domains of both the public and the private sector.
Participants at the meeting came from the Office of National Security (ONS), Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), Statistics Sierra Leone, Conference of Principals of Schools, Political Party representatives, National Electoral Commission (NEC), Right to Access Information (RAI) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs’),Legal Aid Board, CSOs, Media groups, Youth groups, Market Women Representatives, Drivers Union, Village Headmen, Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Petty Traders Union, Tribe Heads, Human Right Commission Sierra Leone(HRCSL) and Bike Riders Union( BRU).
Welcoming the participants as Chairman of the event, the Director of Human Resource and Administration, Mr. Shiaka Kawa thanked all of them for responding to such a national call. He expressed gratitude to all for the turn-out and on behalf of the Authority, he shared his delights for the collective efforts and support demonstrated thus far. Mr. Kawa further said that as partners in development, it is always necessary to share views on national issues so that NCRA as an institution will always have an opportunity in making better decisions in the implementation of policy initiatives. “International best practice requires that we must have National Civil Register that would guide us in sharing and using data for various reasons” Mr. Kawa said.
The Director further went on that, the twin registrations conducted by NEC and NCRA in 2017 was followed by a nationwide payroll verification exercise of both Public and Civil servants which has helped to sanitize the government payroll system of ghost workers. Mr. Kawa emphasized that the confirmation exercise will help the NCRA to capture the correct details of all those who have anomalies with their personal information seated in the NCRA biometric system. He however disclosed that those who have not registered at all with the biometric civil registration system of the NCRA will have an opportunity to do so.
Mr. Abdul Malik Bangura the Senior Operations Officer presented an over view of the NCRA operations with emphasis on the confirmation exercise. He went on to explain the processes and procedures, steps to take in confirming your personal details at any of the NCRA designated certres across the country. Mr. Bangura also took the audience through the documentations required to present during the confirmation. Mr. Abu Bakarr Javombo, Director of Operations and Services, further reaffirm the need to present the correct documents bearing the true information about your self during the exercise. He went on to explain series of scenarios which has been the occurrence especially in creating another person or name in the system. Mr. Javombo further went on to explain the mathematical rationale behind the establishment of centres across the country for the confirmation exercise. He concluded by reassuring the participants that, the time required in confirming one person’s personal details will be less than 10 minutes, for as long as all your particulars are true and correct.
Presenting the Information Education and Communication (IEC) component of the process, the Deputy Director Mr. Amadu Juana-Kamanda, explained the various communication platforms that the Authority is using to share civil registration and ID Management messages. He further went on to inform participants about plans in reaching out to the remotest of communities using the appropriate channels that best fit the audience of that locality. He however, encouraged all present to help disseminate the confirmation messages as and when the opportunity arises. Mr. Kamanda further disclosed that the NCRA registration process is to merely provide the permanent civil register, and that NEC is primarily responsible for producing the voter register. Mr. Kamanda ended by assuring participants that the NCRA process is an inclusive one which provides for the participation of all, including the physically challenged and sight impaired.
Making a statement, the Chairman, Western-Rural District, Mr. Kasho Hollande-Cole expressed his delight over the meeting and describes the event as timely and necessary for the people of Western-Rural District. The Chairman informed the meeting that he has listened well to all the presenters and that he will now reassure the political parties’ stakeholders that NCRA and NEC are government institutions and therefore they complement each other’s effort in terms of information/data sharing. He went on to maintain that the NCRA is responsible only to produce the Civil Register whilst NEC produces the voter register which are two different documents. Therefore, he is asking all and sundry to cooperate with the NCRA by coming out and present themselves for the forthcoming confirmation exercise. However, the Chairman raised concerns of distance from one centre to another. Adding that there are communities that are densely populated and has no centre which he express fear of the people full participation in the process. He also called on all participants present to go and share the message to their constituents regarding the confirmation/registration exercise.
Mr. Kawa permitted for questions and answers session which was much more participatory and interactive. Three rounds of five questions each per round was accommodated by the high table. Amongst some of the questions asked were: centres distances, time required to confirm one person, the quality of staff to handle the process, documentations required etc. However concerns of organizing special time for raising awareness in schools came up, the market centres and to conduct special registration in schools. Recommendations were equally proffered such as training of confirmation staff on customer services, because staff will be faced with different kinds of people at the centres, this will enable them to accommodate all.
Most of the questions asked were answered by the presenters, and the concerns and recommendations were noted for further discussions at management and operational levels.
I.E.C DIRECTORATE, NCRA.