The Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security has said 1.68 million Malawians have registered with the National Registration Bureau (NRB) in the first phase of the National Registration and Identification System (NRIS) exercise.
Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia told journalists in Lilongwe yesterday that this represents 95 percent of registration rate against the targeted 1.7 million registrants.
But the minister was quick to acknowledge that the first phase faced some challenges, including the missing of registration forms at some centres.
Said Chiumia: “But thanks to great team efforts, dedication and hard work, we could deal with most of these challenges instantly and we continue to do so. We also recognise the crucial job that was done from the outset by the Nice [National Initiative for Civic Education] public trust in mobilising the masses to register.”
A representative of development partners supporting the NRIS project, Kikkan Haugen, who is also Norwegian Ambassador, said national identity cards will provide Malawi with a strong cornerstone for her “continuing socio-economic development”.
He observed that no country can successfully tackle its socio-economic challenges in the absence of legal identity of its citizens.
Said Haugen: “This [national identity card] is a key United Nations Sustainable Development Goal target 16.9, which recognises the basic right of all people worldwide to a legal identity. We, as development partners, also see this as a cornerstone for Malawi’s continuing development.”
He observed that without a legal identity, citizens are bound to miss out on development benefits of their society.
Nice national programmes manager GrayKalindekafe assured his organisation’s commitment to reaching every Malawian with information on the importance of the NRIS exercise and the benefits accruing from the national identity card.