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Sierra Leone to introduce compulsory civil registration

May 18, 2016 By Memunatu Bangura

The Chief Registrar at the National Registration Secretariat disclosed on Tuesday at the Miata Conference Centre in Freetown that the government of Sierra Leone, through the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), would introduce civil registration exercise for citizens and non-citizens residents in the country.

Foday Kamara explained that plans were underway to present the National Civil Registration bill to Parliament and that after enactment, would stipulate compulsory registration of citizens and non-citizens, as well as provide e-cards for registrants.

He added that the Act would also make provision for the establishment of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) that would be charged with the responsibility to register births, adoptions, marriage, divorce and deaths throughout the country.

According to him, the National Civil Registration Authority Bill would be presented to Parliament by the government of Sierra Leone for the enactment of a new registration law.

He said civil registration would serve as a system through which government would record vital events of its citizens and residents, create legal documents that would be used to establish, protect civil rights of individuals and create a data source for the compilation of vital statistics.

“Civil registration will be carried out primarily for the purpose of establishing the legal documents provided by the law. These records are also main sources of vital statistics. Complete coverage, accuracy and timeliness of civil registration are essential for quality and vital statistics,” he explained.

Highlighting the benefits of civil registration, the chief registrar said that the process would help government consolidate citizens’ data and enhance effective delivery of services and improve monitoring of government programmes and policies, provide a single national civil registration authority to promote a greater sense of nationhood and common identity.

“Civil Registration will serve as an improved planning tool for state budget donor interface, assessment of development programmes, improve border  control, crime intelligence, encourage economic development through foreign business   investment and resources partnership,” he said.

Mr. Kamara maintained that with the national civil registration, citizens would no longer be required to do multiple registrations with various government agencies.

“At the moment, citizens have to register with NASSIT, National Revenue Authority, Immigration Department, Births and Deaths and Office of Administrator General for passport among others. This is a big stress that citizens have to endure all the time, but with civil registration such will be eliminated and citizens would not have to go through so many registration exercise,” he said.

Minister of Internal Affairs, Alfred Palo Conteh, stated that in Sierra Leone different institutions carry out various registrations and that the government has thought it fit to have a single authority that would be issuing single identification card with complete details of an individual.

The minister noted that there were people in the Civil Service that carried both their official and real ages, adding that there were others who have past retirement age but are yet to retire.

He asserted that with the intervention of national civil registration, once the fingerprint of a registrant has been entered into the system, he would not be able to defraud or lie about his age, adding that with the new system of mass registration, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) would easily get details of qualified citizens from the database for elections purpose.

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