Liberian government begins issuance process of national biometric ID card

May 19, 2017 - 

Liberia has begun the issuance process of its national biometric identification card, which citizens and foreign residents will use to open bank accounts and participate in other processes such as voter registration, according to a report by Front Page Africa.

More than 4.5 million people are expected to register and obtain ID cards of citizenship or residence in Liberia.

J. Tiah Nagbe, executive director of the National Identification Registry, said that enrollment in the ID card program is mandatory.

He added that smartphone users will be unable to register and activate SIM cards unless they present their biometric ID cards.

“If you don’t have the biometric ID card you cannot use your SIM card, it is the ID card that you will use to do your SIM registration, you will use it to open bank account, it will also be used to do your voter’s registration, obtain driver license among others,” he said. “Fifty persons are expected to be registered a day, there will be mobile team aside from our sub offices in the counties.”

The first set of biometric cards that will be issued in October for a three-year term, while future cards will have lifespan of eight to 10 years, Nagbe said.

“The thing is we are doing this to encourage people to come back and continue the process, maybe the first ones will contain some errors may be misspelled names and minor errors, but the second issuance of the cards will have a life span of maybe eight or ten years life span,” he said.

The ID cards will be embedded with a small chip that will contain all of the individual’s personal data, which the Registry will obtain prior to issuing the card.

Each individual who is issued a card will also be provided with a unique identification number.

The Registry has 11 offices in different counties of Liberia including three offices in Montserrado County.

Last month, National Identification Registry signed a US$ 5.9 million, three-year contract with Techno Brain Global FZE after the company beat out 18 other companies in an international competitive bidding process.

Under the terms of the agreement, the National Identification Registry will establish a new biometric civil registry and issue the first one million ID cards, including 50,000 Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) standard cards.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.