The National Identification Registry (NIR) will today May 9, 2019 introduce a national bio-metric identification verification platform.
The NIR public affairs department yesterday announced at its headquarters in Congo Town that the ceremony will take place at the Monrovia City Hall and the time is set at 8:30 a.m.
“The Registry sees the biometric verification platform as a major milestone in the development of Liberia’s identification system and now is time for public and private service providers to take advantage of the offer so as to make the coexistence of all people in the country more unique and in conformity with the laws of our country,” the NIR through a statement signed by its public affairs director, G. Wellington Smith said.
Smith said in a short press statement that “the Biometric Verification Platform is designed to enable service providers in the public and private sectors to easily authenticate who their clients, costumers and anyone with whom they are transacting business is.”
The NIR press statement said the program is expected to bring together several top officials of government ministries and agencies, bank executives, development partners and other dignitaries.
“During the program, technicians from the NIR will display a practical application of how the biometric verification platform works and how it brings more credibility to service delivery and business transactions in the country,” the statement noted further.
It added that the NIR would also explain to the audience how individual institutions could subscribe to the biometric verification platform.
What is the National Identification Registry (NIR)? This is one of the questions that take minds back to the days of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, when many structures and systems were put in place to optimize the country’s resources, especially its human resource of 4.5 million people.
Whether those structures and systems truly met their reasons for which they were established or not, is left with the public and the government’s partners to narrate.
One of the new agencies created at the time was the National Identification Registry (NIR).
On August 1, 2011, then President Sirleaf signed into law the National Identification Registry Act, which repealed People’s Redemption Council (PRC) Decree #65, establishing the National Identification Card System.
In May, 2012, President Sirleaf established the NIR Board of Registrars.
A National Work Plan for the Registry was on Thursday, October 22, 2015, approved for a nine months at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Monrovia. This, according to the then Acting Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf, climaxed a number of key steps that has made the Registry a government fully functional entity.
Varney Sirleaf later became Minister proper, under the leadership of former President Sirleaf and President George Weah allowed him to continue in his role as Internal Affairs Minister.
Former President Sirleaf, having signed into law the National Registry Act on August 1, 2011, appointed J. Tiah Nagbe, former MIA Deputy Minister for Research and Development Planning as executive director, and head of the management team of the NIR.
“He is supported by Zeze R. Reed, Deputy Executive Director for Technical Services, and Mrs. Haja Kumba Liberty, Deputy Executive Director for Administration. This team will enjoy the full support of our board and me, as chairman, as long as they serve with diligence, dedication, and dignity,” President Sirleaf said at a ceremony installing into office the new team at the NIR.
The National Identification Registry is in existence primarily to design, establish, maintain and administer the country’s National Biometric Identification system (NBIS). This body is to be a modern computerized database containing information for all citizens and residents.
On October 30, 2017, the NIR began the registration of citizens, with first applicants being government officials, among whom were ministers, lawmakers and former President Sirleaf. They received their biometric ID cards valid for a year each and, as of that time, the process has been going on without a hitch.
Due to the poor turnout of people to sign up for their NIR Biometric ID cards, the agency designed strategies, among which has been a vibrant publicity mechanism.
Since then, a number of newspapers, including the Daily Observer, and a host of radio stations have been, and continue to provide coverage to programs and activities of the NIR. Today, April 11, the NIR begins a weekly column in the Daily Observer highlighting the tremendous potential benefits of the digital, social and economic transformation inherent in the NIR’s raison d’etre.
It may be recalled that on April 1, 2019, the NIR launched the registration of foreign residents for biometric ID Cards.