The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has on Friday 10th August 2018 joined other African countries in commemorating its first African Civil Registration and Vital Statistics day. The ceremony commenced with a match-pass procession at the Miatta Conference Center in Freetown.
In her keynote address, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Patricia Nyanga Laverley congratulate NCRA Director General, Mr. Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi and the entire staff of NCRA for such a historic day. She said the lack of attention and coordination of our registration systems over the years, resulted in the duplication of systems, waste of resources, in ability to consolidate vital statistics with some initiatives taken in isolation without a comprehensive framework or the ability for them to be seamlessly connected.
She added that our Civil Society Organizations and Non-State actors have sometimes been excluded from these processes, problems compounded by a lack of proper institutionalization, a shortage of trained people and weak operational expenditure support, adding that the result has been under-investment in the systems and a growing lack capacity to update and maintain these systems.
Dr. Laverley went on to say that the absence of universal and well-functioning CRVS in Sierra Leone means that we either do not know, or have incomplete disaggregated records. She continued that some of the records include; births and death rates, causes of death, life expectancy, how many people are dying, why are they dying, where, how many people are dying because of malaria and other communicable, non communicable and preventable diseases.
The Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. Patricia N. Laverley said that the establishment of the National Civil Registration Authority by an Act of Parliament in 2016, demonstrates that the government of Sierra Leone recognizes that CRVS is key for effective implementation of inclusive development as determined by the key principles of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 on “Africa we want” and the Global Agenda 2030 on “Leaving no one behind.”
She maintained that for their government, the impacts of CRVS is wide-ranging as accurate and integrated civil registration records help to target and improve public service delivery. “Beyond simply counting every person, more detailed statistics, disaggregated by smaller administrative regions, or by age and sex, can facilitate the transformation of societies through concerted policy interventions to reduce inequalities. It serves as a reliable source of information for national identification systems, population registers, and functional registers such as pension fund registers, voter registers etc.” Dr. Laverley ended.
The Director General of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), Mr. Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi said most African countries have a civil registration system for decades, yet the system was not well-functioning due to the fact that it was not compulsory, universally and complete. He noted that the use of modern Information Technology (IT) for CRVS system is minimal or non-existent, and where it exists, it is not interoperable with various government functions, such as national statistics, health care, identification management and electoral services.
Mr. Massaquoi stated that the awareness about the multi-sectoral importance of CRVS system for legal, administrative and statistical purposes is not adequate among policy makers, service providers and the public at large. He maintained that African CRVS day will be celebrated every year on the 10th of August to increase public awareness of the importance of making everyone visible in Africa through a well-functioning civil registration and vital statistics system covering the entire population and all vital events occurring in a country. He remarked that “It is important to have in place appropriate national legal framework, IT infrastructure and innovative business process improvement to make CRVS system responsive to public demands by improving accessibility and quality of civil registration and related services.”
The ceremony brought together people from all works of life, foreign Diplomats, and Government Ministers, Members of Parliament and Development Partners.