Liberia: Governance Commission, ID Registry Want Gov’t Build a Synchronize National ID System in support of Digital Economy


Monrovia – The Governance Commission (GC), in collaboration with the National Identification Registry (NIR), over the weekend concluded a daylong forum, urging government ministries and agencies to collaborate efforts to build a synchronize national ID database in support of the National Biometric Identification Systems (NBIS).

The forum calls for a genuine policy framework to build a synchronized NBIS, which will enhance Liberia’s national ID records system that proves valuable to cutting down cost associated to voters’ registration in the electoral processes and multi-year censuses.  

The forum brought together digital technicians from government and private sectors institutions with each presenter presenting on opportunities the process will bring if achieved.

Technicians, in their presentations threw spotlights and sharpened participants’ knowledge on the numerous challenges facing citizens on service delivery, problems on double dipping on payrolls, illegal migration, and other frauds resulting from impersonation and identity theft that continue to undermine the efforts of government in strengthening public and private institutions in the absences of a synchronize national ID database.

The framework when put together will transform Liberia’s Biometric ID System to interact with government’s institutions, private sectors and improve the different numbering system apply to citizens and residents and save cost on electoral expenditure, reduce the burden on government and improve the emerging digital interactions in the country.

According to the ID4Africa executive chairman, Dr. Joseph Atick who gave a keynote speech via zoom, said the pathway to improve the national identification system is based on four main functions which consists of a strategy to bring in the other governmental agencies and recognize stakeholders in the spirit of true partnership.

Dr. Atick said that the ecosystem can emerge in Liberia if stakeholders representing the sectors of government can harmonize with the NIR and standardized the practice which will support the identification needs.

He, however, cautioned the government to exhibit transparency that should allow the people to gain trust in the process.

“The NIR maybe the custodian of national identification card but they cannot do it by itself. It is sector like Telecom, banks, social services, health, immigration and education must have point of contact with the population and clear proposition for the masses,” Dr. Atick said.

“Experience shows that trust required not only transparency purpose but also commitment to respect people privacy and data.”

Making a brief remark, Vice Jewel Howard-Taylor said the system of identification will set the basic for security, peace-building and guarantee social services.

Madam Howard-Taylor further lamented that the few who criticized but the singular reason is for citizens to obtain the national identification card in order for their right and privilege not to be tempered with.

“The national identification card will create transparency and accountability to the governance system and I think it is tool for national development and inclusion,” Vice President Howard-Taylor said.

Addressing the occasion in the opening section, the Officer-in -Charge at the Governance Commission, Madam Elizabeth W. Dorkin, described the forum as a great milestone in reform for the government.

According to Madam Dorkin, the system remains fragmented across some public institutions and there is a need to ensure synchronization for better use.

“The Governance Commission believes that not only must the system be linked but that the system must be fed by other entities for greater effectiveness and efficiency,” Madam Dorkin said.

Also addressing the forum, the Deputy Executive Director for Technical Services at the National Identification Registry, Mr. Zeze R. Reed, said the synchronizing system could allow Biometric of 10 fingers.

The NBIS is a foundational ID system that speaks to all other identification platforms; it comprises of a biometric system that creates national unique identifier, a physical ID card and a verification system. It allows for proof of existence, assurance of uniqueness and ability to trace owner.

Reed revealed the compliance from everyone remains a challenge to the system to get adequate records for the estimated target of six million people.

According to him, the NBIS has the capacity to register 3,500 people per day at a permanent and mobile location but there has been challenges to achieve the target as the NIR has registered 450,000 in 14 counties.