Civil registration to benefit citizens and improve service deliveryFeb 21, 2014
Freetown, February 21 2014: Chief Registrar and head of the National Registration Secretariat (NRS), Dr Max Sesay, has said that a new UNDP supported civil registration project will help the Government consolidate citizens data and enhance the effective delivery of services as well as improve monitoring of government programmes and policies, during a Technical Taskforce Workshop in Freetown, Friday 21 FEbruary.
Dr Max Sesay added that the civil registration project will further support the work of various other national agencies including the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), Statistics Sierra Leone, Immigration Department, law enforcement agencies, and financial services to become even more effective. He said “NEC will no longer have to spend millions of dollars every five years to undertake voter registration. With this civil registration initiative, all NEC will have to do is to extract the list of voters and conduct elections.”
He said ordinary citizens will also benefit immensely from this project noting that citizens will no longer be required to do multiple registrations with various government agencies for services. Said DR Sesay “At the moment citizens have to register with NASSIT, National Revenue Authority, Births and Deaths, Office of the Administrator and Registrar General, Immigration Department for Passport etc.... this is a big hassle that citizens have to endure all the time. With the civil registration project, this will be eliminated and citizens would not have to go through so many registration exercises.”
The meeting was attended by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), Births and Deaths Office, NRS, NEC, National Revenue Authority, Bank of Sierra Leone and international partners including the DFID, EU, Irish Aid, JICA, UNICEF, WFP, World Bank, Plan International among others.
UNDP Country Director, Sudipto Mukerjee said the initiative represents “...a life changer and a historic beginning for Sierra Leone” adding that “Civil registration can be linked with the entire socio-political, economic and judicial systems of Sierra Leone such as access to public services like child care, education, health services, social assistance benefits, disability and retirement pensions, voting, driver’s license, passport and employment among others”
Various discussions, led by participants from national and international agencies where held on diverse issues relating to the civil registration programme including: how civil registration centres can become a “one stop shop” for citizens, the need for multi-purpose smart cards, their uses and benefits and how to effectively use the national civil register for electoral purposes.
With the successful conclusion of the biometric voter registration for the 2012 elections, NEC has established an electronic database of 2.76 million voters with biometric data.This fact brought an initiative to establish and maintain a permanent, comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date national civil registry which can, in turn, be utilized by the NEC for its electoral database, but also by various other national agencies.
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Esam Ismail, Chief Technical Advisor , UNDP: Tel: +23276973119. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org