National IDs to tighten security—Peter Mutharika
President Peter Mutharika Thursday officially announced statistics of the mass registration exercise, stressing that national identity cards (IDs) which Malawians are obtaining will tighten security in several sectors including public finance management.
Mutharika said the registration exercise has resulted in 9, 186, 689 bona fide Malawians officially registering as citizens of this country, resulting in over 100 percent of the target of nine million.
Mutharika said the IDs will help Malawians easily obtain passports, access services in public hospitals and get easily identified in subsidy and social cash transfer programmes.
“Today we close the mass national registration exercise, but there will be continuous registration. This national identity card is a game changer. With it, we will be able to flush out ghost workers in the public service… We will use it to tighten security in our borders,” Mutharika said.
The National Registration and Identification System (NRIS) Project was supported by partners such as UKAID, United States Agency for International Development, United Nations Development Programme, the Norwegian Embassy, the Irish Aid and the European Union (EU).
Speaking on behalf of the development partners, EU ambassador to Malawi, Marchel Gerrmann, said the mass registration campaign is a significant achievement that is putting Malawi on track to achieve one of the targets under the Sustainable Development Goals on legal identity for all and birth registration by 2030.
He has also called for the establishment of linkages with ministries, departments and agencies so that the cards translate to improved service del ivery and strengthened democracy.
“The first crucial linkage was made between [the National Registration Bureau] and the [Malawi Electoral Commission] just before the mass registration campaign started at the end of May 2017. We are expecting that this will improve the integrity of the voters’ register and, more importantly, reduce the total cost of elections,” Gerrmann said.
UNDP Chief Technical Adviser for the mass registration project, Tariq Malik, said the success of the mass registration project is a result of concerted efforts by different stakeholders including registration officers.
“The NRIS project team were recruited by UNDP to support the NRB. Their collective expertise brings the best of what the rest of the world has to offer – from ID schemes in South Africa, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan and others – to help Malawi achieve its goal,” he said.
Mutharika presided over the launch of the NRIS on October 27 2016 after Parliament passed the National Registration Act.
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