Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio has asserted that the newly launched national securitized, multipurpose identity cards will help to eliminate cash hoarding, money laundering, financial fraud, telecommunications fraud, and identity fraud respectively.

He made this statement during the launch of the national securitized multipurpose identity cards, at the State House Lawn in Freetown on Monday, 30th January 2023.

The digitally securitized, multipurpose ID cards have long-term durability and are very user-friendly as it is the very first time such a process was initiated and implemented in Sierra Leone that was officially launched by the president.

Illicit financial flows may be tracked better in a digital economic space. National identification numbers (NINs) have helped us [to] effectively administer payroll and eliminate ghost employees and other waste,” President Bio said.

Speaking on the projected opportunity that the ID  card may accord Sierra Leoneans, he said the introduction of the biometric ID card may provide an opportunity for Sierra Leoneans in the transition to a full biometric voter system that ensures that every citizen is granted his or her due right to vote. He added that every vote cast is accounted for, fully within the shortest possible time,

President Bio noted that peer countries in the sub-region have successfully reduced voter fraud and other electoral errors with the introduction of full biometric voter systems, which may ensure a stable system that will give a level plane ground to every Sierra Leonean.

“Chip-based biometric IDs will help us get even better at tracking, monitoring, and accountability in governance and public service delivery including healthcare and education. I, therefore, urge the NCRA to expedite the assignment of NINs to pupils to control the real and persistent problem of bloated school rolls and examinations’ malpractices,” he said.

He furthered that, he was assured by the NCRA that every Sierra Leonean can now acquire a biometric ID card within 72 hours at every district headquarter town which is very good news to every Sierra Leonean

He thanked the government’s development partners, especially the European Union, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, Irish Aid, Plan International, the World Bank, and many others, for their consistent support in strengthening the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CVRS) systems.

Mohamed M. Massaquoi, the Director General for NCRA said the newly launched ID cards are consistent with international standards and specifications, adding that for the first time in history, biometric ID cards will be produced and issued to citizens and other nationals resident in Sierra Leone.

“We have signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA), Sierra Leone Police, Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and Sierra Leone Immigration Department, among others, to get vital information about nationals and non-nationals resident in Sierra Leone,” he said.

Cleaning the government’s payroll system, he disclosed that he has taken a very successful step by tracking double-dippers, among others.

In her statement, the Chairlady of, the Market Women Association, Haja Marie Bob-Kandeh, emphasized the benefits of the newly launched ID card to market women, noting that it will help women, who are buying and selling goods internally and those that are involved in cross-border trade as well.

“Previously, we used to obtain an emergency document that will last for only a single entry into a country. But with this biometric securitized and multipurpose ID card, that will now be a thing of the past. I’m happy that the issuance of the ID card has also been decentralized, such a move will help the market women as well,” she said, adding that it will help them to access loans from the banks and register their businesses.