The National Registration Bureau (NRB) will on May 26 commence a mass outreach programme for national identity (ID) card registration.
Chief Director in the Ministry of Homeland Security Moses Chiwoni says, in a statement, that citizens whose national IDs were lost or damaged or those who have reached 16 years of age will have an opportunity to either replace their cards or register for a new card.
“NRB further informs the general public that the exercise will start in the four districts of Lilongwe, Zomba, Blantyre and Mzimba on Wednesday, May 26 2021.
However, from June 1 2021, the exercise will be rolled out to all the wards across the country.
“During the exercise, NRB will place teams of registration officers at centres in every ward. Citizens whose IDs expired or lost/damaged will be required to pay a replacement fee of K2,500 to a Treasury cashier at that particular centre. In case of lost IDs, citizens will also be required to bring a police report as proof of loss,” the statement reads.
NRB spokesperson Norman Fulatira said the move would reduce congestion in district registration offices.
“There is congestion in our district offices, where people seek services such as renewal of expired, broken or lost national identity cards. We want to assist people in rural and hard-to-reach areas to renew their cards. We will also give a chance to those who have just turned 16 or, for some reason, did not have the IDs to have them,” he said.
The government will need about K5 billion to renew and issue national Ids to Malawians this year
This is because, between January 1 and December this year, IDs for 2.9 million citizens would expire, costing the government K5 billion.
Homeland Security Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda recently said the government had set aside K400 million for the procurement of blank national IDs for new applicants and those renewing their documents.
“We, as government, are ready to immediately start renewing all the national identity cards that will be expiring. Treasury has already set aside about K400 million for the procurement of the cards that will be expiring in 2021,” Chimwendo Banda said.
Since Malawi commenced the mass registration of its citizens in May 2017, the national ID has become one of the most critical possessions for citizens to access services such as banking, voting and farm input subsidies.
Registration and identification of Malawian citizens followed the National Registration and Identification System Project which supported NRB to have a functional and sustainable registration and identification system that would support improvements in service delivery, governance, economic and social inclusion, among other areas.
All cards that were supposed to expire between 2018, 2019 and 2020 were pushed to expire in 2021.