Liberia Launches National Biometric ID System Today

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The Government of Liberia through the National Identification Registry will officially launch and dedicate Liberia’s National Biometric Identification System (NBIS) today, Monday, October 30 at the registry’s headquarters in Monrovia.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is expected to cut the ribbon to the building, will also enroll into the system and receive the first national biometric identification card. Senior officials of government, diplomats, and other key stakeholders are expected to attend the program.

This historic event, according to the executive director of the National Identification Registry, J. Tiah Nagbe, will commence the issuance of modern identification cards to citizens and residents, “setting the stage for a transformative program that will change the way we do government and private businesses in Liberia.”

He said the ID system will complement the country’s development efforts in several areas, including national security, immigration, elections, and financial services.

According to him, mass enrollment of citizens and residents is expected to kick-off shortly after the official launch and will take place in eleven enrollment centers across the country.

It can be recalled that in May of this year, the executive director disclosed that the entity is expected to register more than 4.5 million Liberians – who will obtain the citizen ID cards, and legal residents in the country.

The new national ID card system will affect how we transact the registration process in  Liberia. The biometric ID card will be required to open bank accounts, to register to vote, and even do SIM registration.

“If you don’t have the biometric ID card you cannot use your SIM card, the ID card will be required to do your SIM registration. You will also use it to open your bank account, do your voter registration, obtain a driver’s license among others,” Nagbe added.

Nagbe said the National Registry office, which would also have a mobile team, is expected to register 50 Liberians a day

He said the biometric cards will be valid for three years, adding that in the future cards will be issued that have eight to ten year life spans.

Stating some of the card’s key features, the executive director of the registry said it contains a small chip that houses the individual’s personal data, including a personal ID number.

Nagbe called on Liberians to obtain their national biometric identification card at one of 11 offices in the different counties, with Montserrado County having 3.

The long overdue exercise is being undertaken through a US$ 5.9 million contract between the National Identification Registry and Techno Brain Global FZE signed on April 11, 2017, and will be implemented over the next three years.

Techno Brain is an information technology company with twenty years of experience that was selected through an international competitive bidding process that involved nineteen companies with vast field specific experience. Under the contract, the National Identification Registry will set up a new biometric civil registry that will issue the first one million ID Cards, including 50,000 ECOWAS standard cards.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Is there now or will there soon be a vetting process to determine or confirm that those “identified” and “certified” to receive ID cards are citizens or legal residents of Liberia? Just wondering if Immigration, Police, and other security types will have a preemptive role (doing background checks) in the ID business… (They say, “take care better than beg pardon.”)

  2. We in the Diaspora, how can we be part of this process? How are you guys going to know the foreigners from the citizens in this process of biometric identification?

  3. News: Liberia Launches National Biometric ID System Today
    Source: https://www.liberianobserver.com/news/liberia-launches-national-biometric-id-system-today/

    As a Liberian and an ICT Professional with almost 20 years of ICT experience, both local and international, I am extremely concern, and strongly believe the investment as reported need to be reviewed.

    As detailed in the below three points analysis and “A, B, C” recommendations, the National Biometric Identification System investment is smart, but in my believe, out runs the benefit, particularly, when a well integrated ICT system comprising of birth-death record (Ministry of Health), Immigration related record (The bureau of Immigration), Police, court (judicial system), the National Social Security, the Ministry Of Housing, The National Bank, and many others could all benefit from such investment within the same range of US$ 5.9 million, if not less.

    Three points analysis:
    Analysis # 1: I want to be believe, the project could have cost far less if negotiated more openly. With my international experience, many companies are known to sell you far more than your need, worst, if they find any loophole to exploit. Please reference the link on Biometric Devices: Cost, Types and Comparative Analysis at https://www.bayometric.com/biometric-devices-cost , in comparison to the US$ 5.9 million dollars contract between the National Identification Registry and Techno Brain Global FZE.

    Analysis # 2: With no disrespect to Techno Brain Global FZE and others, the thought of seeing under developed countries, exploited by well-connected businessmen and Government officials, is unbearable particularly, in the case of my beloved country, mama Liberia.

    In many cases, the game is played like this:
    Step # 1: They research the most technological need of the country, tailored their presentations of all good and nice things
    Step # 2: Contact or lobby for well-connected Government officials, and spend few cash here and there
    Step # 3: Search skilled technicians from India and other part of the world and pay them far less
    Step # 4: Sell the project with about 75% more than the actual cost and the proceeds are shared between the businessmen and the Government officials.

    * With no disrespect to Techno Brain Global FZE, and until they can update their website, with their Corporate headquarters (PO Box 10559, Ras Al Khaimah Dubai, Tel: +971 422 38801, Fax: +971 422 38863 ), Liberians will need to be concerned about the US$ 5.9 million dollars contract, the MEMO and more importantly the ESCROW between Techno Brain Global FZE and the Republic of Liberia.

    Note: An escrow is a contractual arrangement in which a third party receives and disburses money or documents for the primary transacting parties, with the disbursement dependent on conditions agreed to by the transacting parties, or see the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escrow
    Escrow – Wikipedia
    An escrow is: a contractual arrangement in which a third party receives and disburses money or documents for the primary transacting parties, with the disbursement …
    en.wikipedia.org

    Analysis # 3: Controls and segregation of duties. In the Information Communications Technology industry, an effective and efficient System is expected to add values: improve accuracy, enhance processes and guarantee data integrity.

    Until proven otherwise, I’m left to wonder how would the National Identification Registry Biometric System improve accuracy, enhance processes and guarantee data integrity, when birth-death records are managed by the Ministry of Health, Immigration related records, are processed and managed by The bureau of Immigration, criminal records and operations by the Police and NSA, court records by the judicial system, and others. In other words, are Liberians expected to maintain the old processes and yet spend US$ 5.9 million, plus operational cost?

    A, B, C recommendations:

    Recommendation A:
    A good faith review of the US$ 5.9 million dollars contract between the National Identification Registry and Techno Brain Global FZE, with particular reference to cost benefit analysis. The concerned authorities could solicit expert advise and set up a team, or task force with both technical and business skill set.

    I personally believe the country could do more with less, utilize the different social, and professional medias to gather the very best in a given field, have a committee vet their academic\professional and personal characters, after which have the selected few to sign a nondisclosure agreement, and others, and have the experts to work with the concerned authorizes for the implementation of a given project.

    Note: in most instances, there are well educated\professionals in Liberia that could put the country first and help to negotiate a more meaningful contract for mama Liberia.

    Recommendation B:
    Upon the completion of the above recommendation, examine the thought to have the National Identification Registry to serve as a service center, comprising of key stakeholders from the Ministry of Health, The bureau of Immigration, the Police, NSA, the judicial system, the National Social Security, the Ministry Of Housing, The National Bank, and others.

    Note: The key stakeholders should discuss, review, and develop an agreed upon system of reporting, etc, etc. for the effective and efficient operations of the National Identification Registry.

    Recommendation C:
    Upon the design and implementation of the above steps, key stakeholders should discuss, review and design a system on data integrity, the continuous operations of the system, the return of investment and others.

    Note: other key concerns to be considered:
    1: The level of access
    2: The data retention and disposal
    3: The level of oversight. plus others…..

    For your kind consideration, the above narrative is my personal opinion, and as passionate about contributing to my beloved mama Liberia, errors, omissions, and emotion could have limited, or overly expressed the information provided. I also ask your consideration for any typo.

    May God bless you all and May God bless Mama Liberia.

    Please review, send in your feedback and share if possibly

  4. I am very concern how do we intend to distinguished foreigners from citizens? I don’t want a Guinea, Sierra Leoneans, or Ghanians calling themselves Liberians because of loopholes in our system. This is very troubling. The company that won this contract better know what they are doing.

  5. This card will be one of the common denominators between all Liberians because from the highest person in our land to the common person walking down the street

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