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Liberia’s low biometric national ID card renewal rate bemoaned by authorities

Liberia’s low biometric national ID card renewal rate bemoaned by authorities

The director of Liberia’s National Identification Registry (NIR), Andrew Peters, has expressed concerns over the reluctance by many Liberians and expatriates to renew their national ID cards, despite an executive order compelling them to do so.

Speaking during a recent press conference, the official said that the lack of interest goes against provisions of the National Identification Act, The New Dawn reports.

Peters said only about 600,000 Liberians and expats have renewed their ID cards in five years, which represents just about 11.5 percent of the country’s population. The ID cards are issued to Liberians six years old and above.

The renewal entails capturing the biometric data of those concerned for the issuance of highly secured biometric national ID cards with a unique number which will be used as a social security number.

With the ID card, holders will have access to a range of services such as birth and death registrations, applications for passports and residential credentials, as well as for bank account opening.

Peters said while the low renewal rate is due largely to the unwillingness of Liberians, lack of support from relevant stakeholders such as government ministries, department and agencies, and private sector partners, is also not helping the situation.

The official said the NIR needs the full support of government and other partners to enable it open more enrollment centers in all the 15 counties of the country. Already, each of the counties has a well-equipped enrollment center, the NIR says. The official also urged the government to expand the database capacity of the NIR to be able to contain the data of all registrants.

Meanwhile, early this month, Peters stated that the NIR has the intention of taking the number of Liberians with a national ID card to one million by year end.

He noted that as part of the plan, the body has been in talks with other government agencies and partners to facilitate the process of issuing ID cards for their staff, The New Dawn writes in a different report.

Peters said a technical committee had been set up, in collaboration with the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), to make things work. He appealed for the cooperation of all Liberians to make the renewal exercise successful.

Liberia introduced biometrics for voter registration for the first time this year, but electoral agency official believe it is not yet time to use the technology for voting.

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