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Liberia’s President directs NIR to expand biometric database, renew more IDs

Liberia’s President directs NIR to expand biometric database, renew more IDs

Officials of Liberia’s National Identification Registry (NIR) say they are dispatching teams to the field to make sure that employees in all government ministries, departments and agencies are enrolled into the National Biometric Identification System (NBIS) database.

As part of the new ID enrollment drive, the NIR teams will also ensure that all expired ID cards throughout the country are replaced, according to New Republic Liberia.

This move by the NIR follows a recent policy statement delivered by Liberian President Joseph Boakai in which he emphasized the importance of legal ID, and pressed on the ID issuing authority to execute its mandate by ensuring that every eligible citizen is enlisted into the NBIS.

In a State of the Nation address on January 29, Boakai had lamented the many problems suffered by citizens in the past as a result of the inadequacies of the NIR, and pledged that the agency will be empowered with the necessary resources “to be able to capture the comprehensive biometric data needed to feed all agencies including the National Elections Commission.”

Picking up from the President’s declaration NIR Executive Director Andrew Peters says he’ll ensure that the agency registers many more Liberians into the NBIS “which is critical to the enhancement of democracy and economic development.”

“The NIR announces with immediate effect the full deployment of NIR mobile enrollment at every ministry and agency of the government for the enrollment of all employees and renewal of expired ID cards across the country,” Peters is quoted as saying.

The move by NIR to send teams to the field for the renewal of expired ID cards is expected to drive up the renewal rate which has often been criticized as being very low.

Last year, Peters bemoaned the lack of interest among citizens in renewing their expired ID cards, warning that such behaviour contravenes provisions of the country’s National Identification Act.

Out of a population of 5.2 million citizens, Liberia is said to have enrolled just 700,000 of them in the NBIS, representing less than 14 percent of the total population.

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