CSA and NIR Partner in Data Sharing for an Improved Public Sector

Dioda Wreh-Seekey & Robert Serge Saint-Pé

Monrovia, Liberia: A significant milestone was reached on May 27, 2024, as the Civil Service Agency (CSA) and the National Identification Registry (NIR) signed a landmark agreement to design, produce, and issue biometric cards, with each unique identifying number called the National Identification Number (NIN), for all 103 government spending entities to address the challenge of possible fraudulent duplication in the public sector.

The signing ceremony, held at the NIR headquarters, brought together key officials from both institutions, including the Minister of Justice, Hon. Osward Tweh, who is a board member of the NIR, marking the beginning of a strategic partnership aimed at integrating the national identification system with civil service operations. By leveraging CSA’s advanced identification technologies, the NIR aims to assist the CSA in data sharing through the e-verification portal in verifying legitimate government employees, which will help bring integrity to the payroll.

The CSA Director-General, Hon. Josiah F. Joekai, Jr., described the occasion as historic and a tremendous step forward for both institutions, noting that signing the MoU with the NIR will make the CSA’s job easier in verifying employees’ status and will help eliminate inefficiencies and discrepancies from the government payroll.

On his part, Hon. Andrew Peters, Executive Director of the National Identification Registry, emphasized that the MoU is more than just a piece of paper and that it will strengthen and improve the country’s data collection. He also stated that the MoU will put an end to what people refer to as double-dipping, in which some individuals are on multiple payrolls under different names, collecting large sums of money at the expense of the government.

According to Hon. Peters, doing so will help save money and time while also preventing fraud, duplications, and double-dipping. In his words, ‘Our technology can execute both individual and batch verifications easily.’

The NIR boss promised to collaborate with the CSA to provide every civil servant with a single identification number for proper representation and to assist the Liberian government and its ministries, agencies, and commissions in improving and strengthening information collection, storage, evaluation, and security, as well as other identification documents.

Hon. Zeze Reed, Deputy Executive Director for Technical Services at the National Identification Registry, also spoke at the ceremony, saying that authentication and verification in the public sector should not be overemphasized and that it will help improve collaboration for better service delivery.

He added that the overarching goal of the MoU is to promote collaboration between the two parties as well as the interoperability of the parties’ ICT systems in order to reduce identity fraud, improve GOL payroll clean-up, and increase benefits for all employees.

The partnership will see the implementation of a comprehensive biometric verification system, which will form an inter-agency partnership that will provide the CSA with ongoing access to the NIR’s e-verification platform to ensure that all GOL employees’ National Identification Numbers are inserted on the working identification cards that the CSA will produce and issue. These efforts are in line with Hon. Joekai’s agenda to embrace digital solutions for improved governance and public sector management.

With this initiative, the Civil Service Agency and the National Identification Registry reaffirm their dedication to building a robust, efficient, and transparent public service system that meets the needs of all Liberians. The initiative is poised to set a new benchmark in the delivery of public services, paving the way for a more accountable and effective government.

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