The Executive Director of Liberia’s National Identification Registry (NIR) has made an appeal for more funding from the government in order to expand the agency’s biometric registration capabilities and reach within the country.
J. Tiah Nagbe brought forth his proposal late last week before the Plenary of the House of Representatives to increase the NIR’s current $500,000 budget, promising that the additional funds will lead to annual savings in the millions of dollars.
These savings, according to Nagbe, will primarily come from cleaning the Liberian government’s bloated payroll of ‘ghost names’ that are currently receiving benefits, and from streamlining the electoral process, with the amount saved potentially reaching $150 million over the next decade.
Nagbe says that the additional names on the government payroll account for at least three percent of the nation’s gross annual salary payments, while the repeated registration of voters, which is expected to stop if the NIR gets its funding, costs Liberia $40 million.
The NIR was formed in 2011 by the National Legislature with a mandate to design, establish, maintain and administer a national biometric identification system. The Registry says it began the process of registering citizens in every county capital into the National Biometric Identification System during this past fiscal year, and with the increased funding will expand the program to smaller municipalities.
September 14, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis