Mchinji, Government has officially inaugurated the National Registration and Identification System mass registration phase, marking the beginning of issuance of national identity cards to all Malawians.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony in Mchinji on Wednesday, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia said the National Registration and Identification System (NRIS) is a corner stone for good governance, as it will assist the government in proper planning on issues of service delivery among other things.
This system shall assist the government better manage free education and health care services, effectively manage social cash transfer programmes for the vulnerable populations, responding to emergencies, managing borders and providing security, she said.
Chiumia said the inauguration in Mchinji marked the beginning of the National ID mass registration exercise which will be done in five phases.
The minister then appealed to all Malawians particularly in Mchinji district and other border districts, to help the government by making sure that only Malawians are registered during the exercise.
In her speech, Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Cecelia Chazama dismissed rumours circulating in some quarters associating the national IDs to the biblical number 666.
It is not true that the identity cards are a symbol connecting Satan in the bible, this is a national ID which is a legal proof of identity, she said.
Chazama said, for a long time Malawians have had problems identifying themselves due to lack of identity cards.
She called on people of other faith groups such Jehovah Witnesses to ensure that their members register in the ID programme.
Speaking on behalf of the donors who are supporting the programme, British High Commissioner to Malawi Holly Tett said the national ID’s will contribute to government’s efforts to guarantee the fundamental right to identity, entitlement and enjoyment of full citizenship in Malawi.
She said the NRIS project is consistent with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16:9 which seeks to provide legal identity for all and facilitating the goal of achieving comprehensive birth registration by 2030.
As development partners and members of the international community, we recognize and respect the need to provide legal identity to all Malawians as this is their right. We are committed to work with the government to ensure that this effort successfully and sustainably achieved the desired goals, she said.
Six districts which are Ntchisi, Salima, Nkhotakota, Kasungu, Dowa and Mchinji have been earmarked for the second phase of the national IDs.
The National Registration Program and Identification System which the government of Malawi is implementing is funded by UKaid, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Norwegian Embassy, European Union (EU), Irish Aid and United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA