Honourable Minister Grace Chiumia's Speech on completion of Phase 1 of National RegistrationJul 24, 2017
It gives me great pleasure and happiness to stand before you this morning with great news for the Malawi nation. This is news of success, news of a milestone that we have achieved in the first phase of the ongoing National Identity Card Mass Registration Campaign.
It is a day when the State President, His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika and the entire Malawi Government are excited that the hard work and dedication displayed by young men and women in the field has given us fruits beyond our expectations.
Ambassador Haugen, Ladies and gentlemen, you will recall that we started on this journey on May 24 this year when we launched the campaign in Mchinji. At that time, we set for ourselves very ambitious target to register up to 1.76 million eligible Malawian citizens for a National ID in six districts.
These districts included Mchinji, Ntchisi, Salima, Nkhota Kota, Kasungu and Dowa. I call it ambitious because, as this was the first phase of five, some difficulties were inevitable and, indeed, a number of strains stood in our way.
We acknowledge challenges with the Biometric Registration Kits, managing NR1 forms among others. But thanks to great team efforts, dedication and hard work, we could deal with most of these challenges instantly, and we continue to do so. We also recognize the crucial job that was done from the outset by the NICE Public Trust in mobilizing masses of Malawians to register.
As a result of this great coordination between NRB, the NRIS project office, NICE, the various stakeholders, and, above all, the staff in the field, I am glad to declare today that we have been able to register a total of 1.68 Million Malawians in just four weeks.
Ambassador Haugen, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is also important to note that these figures are from 1950 Biometric Registration Kits that were deployed in all the six districts. We still have some Biometric Registration Kits in Phase-I districts from where we retrieved teams to register those citizens who couldn’t avail the opportunity due to some reasons when we were there in their districts during Phase-I
Ladies and gentlemen, the actual numbers of registration show that in Mchinji we managed to register 99.3% eligible population by registering 321,751 citizens against an estimated total of 324,179.
In Ntchisi we registered 96% population as we estimated that we will be able to register 158,521, but we managed to register 152,071.
In Salima we registered 96% that is 212,181 when estimated target was 221,357. Similarly, in Nkhota Kota where we estimated that we would be able to register 213,584 citizens, we managed to register 204,641 which is 96 percent.
In Kasungu where we still have some BRKs registering people, we set the target to register 450,496 but we have currently reached 423,690 citizens as of yesterday the 18th of July but we have already registered 94% of the eligible population.
Registration in Dowa recorded more than 92% turnout as we have registered 369,258 against a target of 400,820 so far. Please note that these figures are changing as we speak as in all Phase-I districts some BRKs are left behind so that those who couldn’t register have an opportunity to register at their convieniance.
Out of a total of 1.76 million expected registrants in phase 1, so far, 1.68 million have been registered thus recording overall 95% of registration rate so far.
The entire Project Team which includes NRB and all the young men and women who have worked in the field as registration officers deserve an applause for an extraordinary effort. The Malawians themselves also deserve a special applause for understanding the importance of the project and show up for registration. No achievement would have been made had it been that they decided not to accept the system.
Special thanks should go to the State President, His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Muntharika for his continued call for Malawians to register. This has contributed significantly to this great achievement.
But while we celebrate a successful start, we should not sit back and relax. We still have a long way to go. Phases two and three are already underway and we are yet to reach out to all the districts in phases 4 and 5. Phase 2 is covering Ntcheu, Dedza, Lilongwe and Likoma. While Phase 3 covers Neno, Mwanza, Blantyre, Thyolo, Mulanje, Chiradzulu, Chikwawa and Nsanje. To date we have just covered Blantyre in Phase 3.
There is a need to thoroughly reflect on our successes and failures in phase one if we are to achieve the ambitious target to register 9.7 million eligible Malawians by the end of December this year. I can’t emphasize enough that this will depend on all of us here, and everyone out there, joining hands in mobilizing people to go and register.
Faith leaders, please let us remind the faithful to be counted. In schools, teachers should remind children to remind their parents to get registered. To parents, let me appeal that you should not forget to register your children under 16 years. Registration of children is also a mandate of National Registration Bureau and it provides legal identity of the child. In work places, please remind all employees and give them space to go out and register. We are in this together and we shall all share the successes and failures of this crucial endeavor for our nation.
On behalf of the Government of Malawi I would like to thank all Development Partners in the National Registration and Identification System (NRIS) project for both their technical and financial support to the people of Malawi.
The Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK,
The European Union,
The Government of Ireland
The Government of Norway
The USAID and
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you more success as we walk the remaining mile.
Thank you for listening.