Chithyola urges NRB on efficient National Registration and Identification System

by Mike Van Kamande

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Simplex Chithyola-Banda says the National Registration Identification System (NRIS) is a very critical programme in government’s effort of achieving Malawi vision (MW2063) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking on Wednesday at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC), Lilongwe when he presided over the thirteenth Steering Committee (SC) Meeting for the NRIS project Chithyola-Banda said the meeting provides platform of discussion on how stakeholders are progressing with the implementation of NRIS

“You may agree with me that population growth has huge impact on the national development as such government is very much optimistic that once we leverage on the National Identification System and integrate it properly with other systems, planning and implementation of policies and interventions would be smooth. For instance, work for the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Immigration, Road Traffic, Health and other key institutions would be more efficient,” he said.

Chithyola-Banda said people will be able to access social services easily and Malawi will witness improved service delivery in all government institutions including private sectors.

In his remarks Minister of Home Land Security Ken Zikhale Ng’oma said it is government’s wish to have every Malawian registered not necessarily for the elections only but because it is very crucial for identification,  business transactions among other services.

Minister of Information and Digitalization Moses Kunkuyu said digital transformation requires a holistic approach hence there is need for collaboration.

“We need to digitalize the country and bridge the digital gender divide, enhance integration and efficient and secure data sharing.  Hence we implore treasury to include in the current budget funds for NRB to fully digitalize,” he said.

Making his contribution Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale said we need to amplify the message about registration because Malawians need National IDs to participate in the elections to exercise their right to vote.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Fenella Frost said legal identity is not only linked to the Sustainable Development Goal 16 but it is also a critical enabler to many of the SDGs related to health,  equality,  education and gender among others.

“Government has contributed US$20million directly to the NRIS project basket fund and released US$1.5m for the Birth Registration which is really commendable to compliment funding from the European Union,  USAID, Irish Aid, Norway and the UK-FCDO among others,” she said.