NIR Craves Increased Budget Support

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Amid the ongoing scrutiny of the 2020/2021 National Budget to the tune of US$535.4 million, the National Identification Registry (NIR) has appealed for increased budgetary allotment to enable the agency effectively expand its services across the country.

The NIR, which has a budget of US$500,000 in the draft national budget, wants the House of Representative to increase its budget in order to begin the issuance of free identification cards, particularly to those living below the poverty line.

According to the NIR Executive Director, J. Tiah Nagbe, if the NIR is supported properly with the necessary financial backing, it will not just have accurate data on the citizens and non-Liberians, but also save the country a lot of money through payroll verification.

Mr. Nagbe added that the work of the NIR does not only allow the removal of ‘ghost names’ from benefit programs, it eliminates the need for repeated registration/counting for voting or census.

“This can lead to substantial savings and increase in government revenues. Some potential savings over the next ten years if our budgetary increase appeal is actually accepted, is to the tune of US$145 million. The areas, [from which] the money will be saved, include GoL Payroll Cleaning, which involves the removing ghost names, amounting to at least 3% of gross annual salary payments. During this period, the government is expected to save US$95 million. Other areas include the voter registration exercise, which will save the government US$40 million due to the NIR’s ability to end repeated registration of voters, which will then lead to at least 80% reduction in costs; as well as save on the use of the registry to support population census. The development of digital identity in Liberia can help the country’s economic and social development. This report provides a rapid study of the potential and readiness of digital identity in Liberia,” Nagbe said.

It may be recalled, the government enacted the national identification registry (NIR) act in 2011 to establish national identification in the country. The law calls for the setup of the NIR to be responsible for issuing a biometric-based identification card to each citizen and resident in Liberia. 

In his presentation on Thursday, the NIR Executive Director, besides increased allotment to embark on massive registration, also appealed to the Legislature to strengthen the law concerning the National ID card.

Mr. Teah told the lawmakers that ‘tightening’ the law on the National ID card will make it effective because the National ID card is a unique identifier, as compared to the social security number in the United States of America (USA).

The NIR boss further appealed to the House of Representatives to amend the 1986 elections law to consider the NIR to support the voter registration and voter roll biometrically. Nagbe said the National Biometric ID card can save the government from using surplus money on voter registration and deter trucking of citizens from one region to another.

He boasted that the biometric system is built to identify “finger prints, faces, and other features” to curtail double registrations.

Nimba County lawmaker, Larry Younquoi, on behalf of his colleagues thanked Mr. Nagbe for the presentation and assured him of their support. House Speaker Bhofal Chambers added his voice and said it will be dealt with appropriately.

Author

  • I am a Liberian journalist, born November 7 and hailed from the Southeast and of the kru tribe. I began contributing to the Daily Observer 2008 and was fully employed in 2012. I am the 3rd of eight children and named after my great grandfather. Am happily married with three children (girls). I am a full member of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and also the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) and the Legislative Press Pool (LEGISPOL). I can be contacted through email: [email protected] or cell number/WhatsApp: (+231) 0886585875 or Facebook.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you, Mr. Nagbe,!

    They won’t listen to you because they all use those loopholes to either embezzle funds or steal elections.
    They won’t give you a budget of at most $1 million to save $135 million annually.
    But I can tell you, Mr. Nagbe, that if this process is implemented with professionalism, the government will have a surplus cash of 500 million each year to raise the budget to at least $1 billion, if not creating new revenue generating activities.

    There are some things very easy to do in Liberia, but Liberians make mountains out of mole holes.
    They told us about raiding payroll with ghost names, where are we with the process? This is something that could just be done in 2 weeks in a small country like Liberia. But they know what they are doing, bunch of rogues!

    The ANC will begin with minimum $2.5 billion in the first year of leadership, it is our resolve to uplifting the living standards of our people.

  2. Wow, Liberia has lost its membership at the African Union because it owes U.S. $1.6 million, what a disgrace! From founding member to observer.

    Dear God, when will the disgrace come to end under the most disgraceful president in the history of Liberia?

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