The process leading to the issuance of the newly introduced National Biometric Identification Cards (ID cards) for citizens and residents of Liberia has begun with the installation of modern information technology equipment at the Congo Town office of the National Identification Registry (NIR), says Tiah Nagbe, executive director.
Nagbe, who made the disclosure yesterday in Monrovia, said the process will allow citizens and foreign residents to obtain their respective identification cards.
Already, Mr. Nagbe said the NIR and Techno Brian Global FZE, a company based in Ethiopia, signed an agreement on April 11 for US$5.9 million to be implemented over the next three years.
Mr. Nagbe, who spoke to journalists at a well-attended press conference in Congo Town, said Techno Brian is an information technology company with over 20 years of experience that was selected through an international competitive bidding process involving 19 companies with vast experiences in the field, adding that it took many years to finalize the agreement.
Under this contract, he said, “We will set up a new biometric civil registry and issue the first one million ID cards, including 50,000 cards that meet ECOWAS ID card standard.”
According to him, NIR’s plan is to complete the installation of the system and start issuing the ID cards by October 1.
He said the benefits of a civil registry and biometric ID card are quite enormous, and will lead to improvements in the delivery of services across the country for government and the private sector.
The NIR executive director said the move will also help save lives as well as improve the national security environment.
Mr. Nagbe said such an initiative benefits other nations using it, particularly during elections, for which the citizens do not need extra ID cards, which present an added cost to governments.
He said the entire process will be free of fraud and duplication.
Mr. Nagbe said the NIR will set up eight centers in strategic counties where they will be able to serve citizens in those areas, as a means of decentralizing the initiative, adding that there will be costs attached to obtaining the ID cards, which he said will be minimal.
He named the centers, which will serve multiple areas in Liberia, to include Bomi, which will, for example, be one of the strategic areas for western Liberia; as well as Nimba, Buchanan, and Grand Gedeh.