Two managers of XION, an Austrian software development vendor for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics met Monday with NCRA senior management team as part of their on-site visits to confirm system requirements, challenges and the way forward for the implementation of a well-functional CRVS and Identity Management System for Sierra Leone. The project, implemented by UNOPS is a support from the European Union (EU) an assistance to the Government of Sierra Leone under the EU development fund number11 chapter.
A cross section of the Senior Management Team of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) headed by the Director General Mr. Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI has met with the vendor XION; an Austria based company responsible for the development of a CRVS software for Sierra Leone on 14th October 2022, in the Board room of the Authority, Walpole Street, Freetown.
The meeting was held to provide an update on assessment of NCRA’s existing Identity Management System (IDMS); better understanding of NCRA and its third-party processes; identify NCRA’s challenges and goals, and devising Possible ways of surmounting those challenges in order to achieve the set goals.
NCRA Director General Mohamed MASSAQUOI welcomed and thanked the two representatives of XION for their willingness to visit Sierra Leone and share their expertise in building an integrated CRVS software that will interface with systems of other public sector institutions in-country, generate and manage data. MASSAQUOI emphasized the significance of the work to be done by XION. He said President Bio was aware of their visit to Sierra Leone because the CRVS and ID Management initiative is cardinal as it resonates with the aim of the project which underscores the overall aspirations of the governance agenda of the country. MASSAQUOI also said that he was very pleased with the interaction the software engineers had with other MDAs because the experiences gathered could be relevant to the rational of the project.
Concluding, the Director General reminded all that the project is supported by the European Union through UNOPS, an assistance to the Government of Sierra Leone in the governance sector.
Speaking on behalf of XION, the software engineer Stefan Stappen thanked the Director General for the warm welcome and accommodation during their stay in Sierra Leone. He furthered that the NCRA ICT staff that were attached to them were serviceable and that their support was necessary for the intended purpose of their on-site visits. Presenting his report from the on-site visits in power point slides, Stefan highlighted his facts under three broad categories- issues identified in the on-site visits of the different public sector institutions covering; Health Care Centre(Aberdeen women centre) for birth registrations, Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, National Revenue authority for tax administration, Education sector systems for teacher and learning management, ID card system vendor and the Accountant General’s Department for pay roll management.
Mr. Stappen also pointed out that issues identified during interaction with the existing NCRA’s registration system has to do with data duplication and adjudication, Biometric search processes, separate NIN generation from biometric data capture etc. Challenges identified he mentioned were bordered on data center delay, Personal resources at NCRA, external interfaces with other systems, project time line among others. Mr. Steppan shared two major recommendations of developing a mechanism that will accommodate a safe data sharing opportunity using identity data of a small number of dedicated interfaces. Concluding, Mr. Stappen confirmed that Sierra Leone has a great opportunity of hosting a well-functional CRVS and ID management system that can incorporate other public services using a secured digital interfacing platform.
DG MASSAQUOI again thanked the two XION managers for the clear and concise presentation regarding their on-site visits in Sierra Leone. He however encouraged them to do a detailed report reflecting all the issues highlighted which he said can be shared in the CRVS steering committee meeting where all donors and development partners supporting CRVS can understand the clear picture of what it takes for a successful implementation of a well-functional CRVS and ID Management systems in Sierra Leone. Mr. MASSAQUOI also advised the XION managers to add training component in their report for staff of NCRA as a way of fostering a sustainability strategy and taking care of minor maintenances the system might face in due course. He further noted that, the investment in this project is very huge and that Sierra Leoneans should be able and prepare to own the process going forward with little or support from XION.
Recognition of the efforts and support of partners like the European Union and UNOPS was done by the DG. He thanked them for their respective unflinching support not only to NCRA but to the Government as a whole in making sure that all the system requirement necessary for a successful implementation of a well-functional CRVS project in Sierra Leone is achieved.
Present in the meeting were senior management staff of NCRA from the directorates of Information Communication Technology-ICT, Information Education and Communication IEC, Administration and Human Resource. A representative from UNOPS was also present as the lead project guide engineer for the XION managers for their on-site visits in Sierra Leone.