National Registration and Identification System (NRIS)
Remarks on National Identification by Tariq Malik, UNDP Chief Technical Advisor
Thursday, November 30th, 2016; Kamuzu Palace, Lilongwe
Your Excellency, you championed this initiative back in 2009 as Minister of Justice. It subsequently became a priority of your Administration, that all Malawians must be empowered with National Identity and hence be registered for a National ID card. This was your cherished dream.
Your Excellency, my role today is therefore to introduce the team that have turned your dream into reality.
A project of this size and complexity is never the work of one individual. There are many here today who gave their time, commitment and their energy so this dream could be realized. The milestone we are talking about today is a result of their hard work. The number of people that have registered, speak the success story.
Your Excellency, this was truly a project by Malawians, for Malawians. So, the first to thank are the 4,200 Registration Officers who traveled the length and breadth of the country to register fellow citizens. There was diversity which constituted the youth, men, women, people with disabilities and albinism.
Special appreciation goes to the National Registration Bureau under the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security who rose to the challenge of effectively leading the mass registration campaign. As we hand over the baton to continuous registration, they will need to rise higher.
I also recognize the effort of NICE for creating demand for National ID by result based civic education campaign.
Your Excellency, the NRIS project team were recruited by UNDP and brought the best of what the rest of the world had to offer in expertise in different ID schemes in Sierra Leone, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan and others – to help Malawi achieve its goal. This team of international experts – led by the Chief Technical Advisor – has been exceptional.
The success of this project is also a result of development partners and senior Government officials who have been providing overall direction and strategic guidance in Steering Committee and Technical Committee meetings.
Finally, it would be remiss to end these words of appreciation without acknowledging Mia Seppo, the former United Nations Resident Coordinator who finished her tour of duty to Malawi. Her commitment to Malawi is such that she still follows events from afar.
The road ahead is long and there is much to be done. The remaining ID cards need to be distributed and Government needs yet to leverage all the many ways that ID can be used for the benefit of the Malawian people.
Today, however, is a moment to pause, to take a breath and to celebrate.
We have achieved a milestone. Congratulations.