Britain has said it is pleased to to support Malawi government’s flagship national identity cards (IDs) project which will provide all Malawians with a legal identity.
President Peter Mutharika launched the National Registration and Identification system project on Thursday at Bingu International Conference centre in Lilongwe.
Head of DFID in Malawi, Philip Smith, disclosed that UK is the “biggest donor” to the project with a commitment of US$11million.
“Being able to verify the identity of individuals is a prerequisite for Malawi’s development. The UK is pleased to be able to support the Government’s flagship ID card project which will provide all Malawians with a legal identity,” Smith told Nyasa Times.
“ ID cards have the potential to deliver transformative change in Malawi. After the Government of Malawi – which is commendably providing 40% of the funds – the UK is the biggest donor to the project with a commitment of US$11million,” he added.
The ID’s project is a milestone of the Mutharika government as Malawians currently use driving licenses, passports, and in some cases voter registration certificates as proof of their citizenship in places and institutions where identification is needed.
Those who don’t have such documents are asked to bring any person with a passport or driving license to be a witness.
Malawians who cannot fulfill such requiremenrts cannot get assistance in places like commercial banks and money lending institutions.
Speaking when he launched the project, President Mutharika said for many years Malawi has been losing its resources by among other carrying out the voter registration exercise during elections and paying ghost workers in public offices,saying the IDs will help the country among other things save public finances.
“Malawi just like any other countries in the world cannot develop by implementing old systems. Time has come for the country to abandon all its old systems and implement new and workable ones. The launch of the National Identity Card and is a symbol of national transformation,” Mutharika said.
He added: “With this card, we hope to bring better organization in various socio-economic transactions. Malawians will enjoy better organization in programmes such as fertilizer subsidy, social cash transfer, banking and loan schemes.”
Government of Malawi is geared to roll out the National Identity Card at a full scale sometime next year. The roll out process is expected to register about 9 million Malawians.
Malawi government is expected to channel 40 percent of its resources towards the project while donor partners will contribute the remaining 60 percent.
Meanwhile, Mutharika has commended the Public Service Reforms Commission chaired by Vice President Saulos Chilima for successfully carrying out transformations that will ensure successful change towards a dynamic, efficient and effective Public Service.
“With this Commission, we are implementing bold and decisive reforms to ensure a well-motivated, competent and result-oriented public service. This process will culminate into a transformed public service delivery system. This will ultimately change our way of providing services; our culture of doing business; and making service providers accountable to the people,” the President said.
Health authorities say the absence of national IDs is putting strain on medical resources because foreigners come to take advantage of free medical services in public hospitals, particularly in border districts.
Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia said despite that the country already rolled out a universal and compulsory birth and death registration of babies, every Malawian above the age of 16 will be registered.
“From now to December 2016 we will register about 9 Million people and more will be registered in our next phases,” she explained.
Virginia Palmer, United States of America Ambassador to Malawi commended the Malawi government for living up to its dream.
She said the National registration and identity system will help accelerate the country’s development as Malawi will now have a clear picture of its population and as such formulate policies accordingly.
“This is essential transformation as it will enable Malawians have better access to health, education and other various public services,” Palmer explained.
United Nations Representative, Mia Seppho assured Malawi government of the organization’s support towards the project.
Seppho said UN recognizes the importance of the national registration and identification systems as it benefits in particular the rural masses.
Malawi adopted the National Registration and Identification Act in 2010 and the official launch of National Registration and Identification system completes the whole journey.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :