National Registration Bureau ( NRB ) has extended the national identity (ID) card registration and renewal processes to all the 460 council wards in the country to decongest its district offices.
Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Band a disclosed this in Blantyre yesterday after touring the NRB regional office to appreciate challenges the bureau is facing when renewing national IDs.
He said following public outcry on challenges Malawians face when renewing their national IDs, his ministry engaged Ministry of Finance to release funds for the recruitment of 200 interns to beef up NRB staff to take the service close to the people.
Chimwendo Banda said Treasury has already released the funds and that NRB will from next week start operating in wards in 193 constituencies nationwide.
He said: “So, they [interns] should be able to go into each and every ward.
“The good thing is that we have 2 000 registration kits already. MEC [Malawi Electoral Commission] had borrowed 1 000 kits and they have returned them and with the manpower we have now, the congestion is over.”
The minister further said government has extended national IDs lifespan from between three and five years to 10 years and that his ministry is contemplating issuing IDs that do not expire.
In a separate interview, NRB deputy director Moses Chiwoni attributed the congestion at NRB district offices to the anticipated renewal of three million national IDs which are expected to expire this year.
He said: “This year, we have renewed about 100 000 IDs and you might see that we are expected to renew three million. So, people are converging at the district registration office. But there are a lot of people out there who do not have transport to come here for [the exercise].”
Before visiting NRB regional office, Chimwendo Banda inspected Blantyre Police Office Complex construction works.
He expressed optimism that the construction works, now at 33 percent, will be completed by December next year. He commended the contractor, City Building Contractors, for the high standard work on the project.
Said Chimwendo Banda: “I am very impressed. You know, Blantyre, as a commercial city, deserves a modern police building, but right now the building police officers are using is in a very bad and pathetic state.”
On her part, Deputy Inspector General of Police responsible for administration Merlyn Yolamu said when the new police building is complete, police performance will improve because officers will be motivated.
The construction of the K5.3 billion Blantyre Police Office Complex started in April last year after the project delayed in the previous 12 years.