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Friday, April 19, 2024

Information Minister Encourages All to Obtain ID Cards

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

Thinking that checking out at any National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) designated centres, where the Biometric National and Non-National ID Cards processes are taking place, is a laborious and time consuming burden, it is high time to delete that erroneous fear or thought. This is so simply because it has been proven on countless occasions that the processes of checking the NCRA database, through computers and taking of applicants’ photos by assigned personnel attached to the various centres only consume a maximum of six minutes. This expeditious time, by any estimation, is one that cannot drive applicants to frustration or despair but rather make them sail through with ease and convenience. The other good thing about this praiseworthy service delivery is that though the Biometric ID Cards are not issued instantaneously but rather in three (3) days time, however, the fact that applicants are notified through text messages, within the three days period, to pick up their processed ID Cards has been a welcoming experience by many.

It must be noted that the importance of obtaining the Biometric ID Cards was hammered home by the   Minister of Information and Civic Education, Chernor Bah, on the 13th February, 2024 at the Government weekly Press Conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Conference Room on Tower Hill in Freetown.

The Minister intimated newsmen about the implementation of a new Government mandate which requires citizens to obtain a National ID card for access to various services and authorities, particularly those related to security.

He furthered by  outlining the process of obtaining the National ID card stating that citizens must register in any ID Card issuing centers, pay the required fee, and wait for 2 to 3 business days for the ID card to be ready.

Chernor Bah emphasized that the Government views the initiative as essential for State security as well as the efficient management of citizens’ identification within the country also stressing the easy accessibility of acquiring the national ID card.  He made it clear that possessing the ID card is now mandatory, with even non-residents required to obtain a non-resident ID card.

The Minister additionally highlighted how the ECOWAS ID Card is an important travel document that provides unique identification features and facilitates crossing borders within the ECOWAS region, urging people to acquire it as well.

According to the Minister, the Government aims to streamline processes and enhance security measures by implementing an efficient system for issuing the ID Cards.

Compliance with this mandate, he emphasized, is crucial for citizens to access essential services and exercise their rights effectively and concluded by highlighting the Government’s collaboration with the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) and contractors in implementing the new national ID card system as well as reiterating the importance of obtaining and carrying the ID Card, focusing on the benefits it brings to individuals.

Linking the Biometric ID Cards  (National, Non-National, and ECOWAS) with the National Identification Number (NIN) for accessing essential services, including financial transactions, vehicle registration, public and private institution recruitment is a key reason why obtaining one is significant. It is Cabinet Directive that was ratified by Parliament effective April 1, 2024, emphasizing the significance of reliable identification for national security and consistency in personal information.

The public is urged to initiate the ID card acquisition process immediately at designated registration centres nationwide. These include six specific offices and mobile units deployed to remote areas to facilitate widespread access to identification services.
For those unable to visit physical centres, online registration options are available. Additionally, specialized corporate services are provided for organizations and institutions.

As the deadline nears, obtaining Biometric ID Cards not only ensures compliance with legal mandates but also contributes to a more connected, transparent, and prosperous Sierra Leone. Act promptly to avoid inconvenience.

The designated centres are:

  1. NCRA Headquarters: 2 Walpole Street, Freetown.
    2. NCRA Office: 23B Off Kingharman Road, Freetown.
    3. NCRA Office: Kennedy Street, Freetown.
    4. NCRA Branch Office: 230 Lumley Road, Freetown (By the Round- About).
    5. NCRA Office: Waterloo along the Freetown High Way (Opposite the Police Station).
    6. NCRA Offices: Regional Headquarter Towns of Bo, Kenema, Makeni, and Port Loko.

For comprehensive details on these services, interested parties can reach out to us via the following contact numbers: +232-33-433-333, +232-30-500-000, +232-60-000, +232-78-221-812, or through email at idverification@ncra.gov.

With the impending deadline for obtaining the ID Cards by March 31, 2024, citizens and non-citizens are urged to swiftly obtain them. This call comes as enforcement authorities emphasize the urgency of meeting the deadline to avoid last-minute rushes.

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