Report by Edwin Genoway, Jr

Liberia has finally launched the issuance of biometric identification card for its citizens and foreign residents.

More than 4.5 million Liberians are expected to register and obtained ID Cards of citizenship or residence individuals in Liberia.

The ID Cards will be used as national Identity and individuals bearing the cards can used the cards to open bank accounts and use them is processes such as voter registration.

The Executive Director of the National Identification Registry, J. Tiah Nagbe at a news conference said every Liberian need to have the citizen’s identification cards.

Mr. Nagbe noted that telephone users will not use their SIM card until they present ID cards, saying the ID cards will be used to do sim registration.

“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 explained.

He noted that when the process starts, the National Registry office is expected to register fifty (50) Liberians a day, saying there will be a mobile team available.

“50 persons are expected to be registered a day, there will be mobile team aside from our sub offices in the counties,” he said.

Nagbe said the first set of biometric cards that will be issued in October will be valid for three years, saying in the future cards will be issued that have a life span of eight to ten years.

“In October when the first ID Cards are issued it will last for three years.“

“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 maybe 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 noted.

He noted that when the IDs are issued, personal information of individuals will be obtain in the system of the Registry, saying the cards will also contain a small chip embedded in the ID Cards that will contain all of the individual personal data.

He said unique identification numbers will be issued to each person bearing the card.

He said there are eleven (11) offices in different counties of Liberia with three offices in Montserrado County.

The process is being undertaken through a contract between the National Identification Registry and Techno Brain Global FZE. The contract was signed on April 11, 2017 and is for US$ 5.9 Million, to be implemented over the next three years.

Techno Brain is an information technology company with twenty years of experience and were selected through an international competitive bidding process that involved nineteen companies with vast experiences in this field.

Under the contract, the National Identification Registry will set up new biometric civil registry and issue the first one million ID Cards, including 50,000 ECOWAS standard cards.

The system installation and the start of issuance of ID Cards are expected to start in October of this year.