There are growing fears among some Malawians that the availability of National Registration forms on the internet may create an opportunity for people to venture into the business of downloading and selling them.
The development follows a series of incidents in districts conducting the exercise where people have been sent home because of limited or unavailability of the forms in some registration centers.
Thomasi Petero from Chigumula in Blantyre said he failed to register at one center because it had run out of registration forms.
“I was told to download the form on the internet and with the high demand surrounding the access to these forms, my fear is that people especially internet providers will start selling them,” Petero said.
However, public relations officer (PRO) for National Registration Bureau Norman Fulatira said forms on the net was a deliberate way of making them accessible to all Malawians.
Fulatira further said this measure was also put in place by NRB to avoid centers from closing down if they run out of registration forms.
“We have plenty of forms but the issue is on form management. Forms were issued based on population projections around the catchment of the center and when forms run out, a District Registration Task Force (DRTF) monitoring the exercise on the ground is supposed to replenish them,” he said.
He further said as one way of increasing access, the NRB approved photocopying of the registration forms once presumed to be in low supply by individuals present at the center.
“There are no deliberate moves to have the forms in low supply but we are avoiding having them in full supply because, in the first phase of the exercise, we almost finished all the forms meant for the entire registration exercise,” he said.
Apart from inadequate registration forms, machine breakdown is another issue affecting the exercise.
But Fulatira was quick to point out that the NRB office is ready to do everything possible to make the exercise a success.
“We have district teams and technicians who are always on the move to cater for any possible breakdown,” he said.
By December this year, Malawi expects to register over 9 million people of 16 years and above. In the first phase of the exercise about 1.7 million Malawians were registered.
However this was below a projected number of 1.8 million.
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