National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has started generating National Identification Number (NIN) for Citizens and non-citizens residing in Sierra Leone.

NIN which is similar to the social security number in the Western world is a unique identifier for individuals and is issued when someone confirms/registers with the NCRA. It is a non transferable series consisting of letters and numbers. This latest development comes at a time when forgery and manipulation of important documents are on the increase.

According to Director General of NCRA, Mr. Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi; the NIN which is the first of its kind in Sierra Leone not shared among individuals, which makes it a security feature. “It cannot be used by two people and every individual will be given one when that individual either confirms his or personal details or registers with NCRA.” Says DG Massaquoi. “NIN is for infinity which means even when that individual dies, the National Identification Number will not be given to another individual.” He added.

Citing the importance of NIN, DG Massaquoi started by saying it is a security feature that will be added to National and ECOWAS identity Cards that will be produced by NCRA soon. This will make the duplication of Cards by criminals practically impossible because only NCRA generates NIN in Sierra Leone.
“Since a single NIN is for one individual alone, two people cannot share it and even when that individual is no more the NIN will not be given to another person.” Mr. Massaquoi reiterated. This means the NIN will be used by that person when he or she wants to apply for another important documents like National passports, license, pin codes and more.

Analyzing further, NIN will help in minimizing fraudulent activities in the country. It is no secret that there are people who move around with at least five names with documents to support those names. But with NCRA generating the National Identification Number, it will lead to other institutions partnering with NCRA for accurate information about an individual. “We have signed partnership agreement with other institutions for them to contact us for an individual’s personal details,” DG Massaquoi noted “NIN will be added to that document which the institution wants to produce for that individual so as to prevent falsifying details and having different identity with that institution.” Mr Massaquoi furthered. Some institutions that are already in contact with NCRA for the NIN are Banks, SLRSA, Health practitioners, Teaching Service Commission, Sierra Leone Police, Sierra Leone Army and more.

This fine development will discourage criminals from holding multiple salaries while depriving others that are qualified for such, but do not have appointments.

Another benefit of NIN according to the NCRA Boss is that it enables the government to to generate taxes through a uniformed process. There are business owners who own multiple businesses but only pay for fe. This leads to evasion of taxes which leads to mass revenue loss for the government. With NIN, business registration license and certificate would have NCRA’s NIN added to that document which means that an individual’s personal details with NCRS will be a requirement for getting a license. “Soon, tax evasion will become a story of the past because government will now be track businesses and demand for payment of taxes.” Mr Massaquoi informed. A business owner will now pay for all his businesses regardless of registering them separately.

On rogue and fraudulent civil servants who hold multiple pin codes, the Human Resource office of the government will now be able to track such individuals and brought to book. Civil servants were the first to be registered and confirmed by NCRA which means all their personal data are now in the database. HR office can now easily gain access to it whenever they want to check or update the salary scheme of Civil servants. This move by the government through NCRA is a deliberate attempt to seal all leakages from the consolidated funds. “When a single person has more than one pin code, he’s not only stealing from the government, but also depriving others from gaining employment which is really bad for the development of any nation.” DG opine. Hopefully this too shall come to pass when the NIN is properly generated for everyone by NCRA.

NCRA is encouraging everyone to either confirm or register individual personal details because even employment agencies are now in constant communication with NCRA for the accurate data on their employees for better decision making. Embassies around the world are also contacting NCRA on a daily basis for details of individuals whenever they apply for visas to those countries. “When embassies contact us for someone’s personal data, the person stands to miss out on that opportunity to travel to that particular country if your details are not in our database because we will not be able to present anything for you,” DG Massaquoi stated “For students who apply for scholarships and people who intend doing hajj, you need to have you personal details in our database because we are the sole custodian of civil registration in Sierra Leone.” Mr Massaquoi lamented.

National Civil Registration Authority Act of 2016 established NCRA itself and charged it with the responsibility of registering live births, Deaths, Marriages, Adoptions, Divorces and Nullities. These mandates make NCRA the central hub of personal data on the social lives of people in Sierra Leone. According to the Director General of NCRA, there is a robust database which NCRA is using to develop and maintain a permanent, continuous and compulsory register of citizens and non-citizens living in Sierra Leone. “Civil Registration is a right and a must. At NCRA, we leave no one behind.” Mr. Massaquoi ended.