The National Registration Bureau (NRB) has defended its decision to offer Malawian national identity cards to foreigners residing in the country saying the foreigners will be paying for the IDs.
This follows concerns from different individuals and other stakeholders who opposed the decision to offer the national identity cards to foreigners saying it will just cost government money which is not good considering Malawi’s economic situation.
But reacting to the concerns, NRB publicist Norman Fulatira said people should not be worried since the constitution allows the bureau to offer IDs to foreigners who are legally residing in Malawi.
“The Registration Act of 2010 orders NRB to register both Malawians and foreigners who are 16 years and above but only those who are staying in the country legally.
“In this case the foreigners will be paying some money to get the Malawian identity card but the registration will start with indigenous Malawians,” said Fulatira.
When he launched the national identity card initiative last month, President Peter Mutharika said the cards bring a number of benefits to both citizens and the country as a whole.
Mutharika said the national identification cards will among others address challenges the country has been facing due to the absence of the documents, as Malawi was the only southern African country without national identification cards.
“Transformation has no other name! It is when a country takes the road of new innovations that we know we are making progress.
“Through our reforms programme we are reorganizing the systems to make them respond to needs of our citizens in as far as service delivery is concerned. This document – which will be owned by all Malawians from 16 years and above – has too many benefits that will ease life in all aspects,” said Mutharika.
He further said government will be able to screen individuals before they access public services and identify all citizens in the quest to reduce crime and improve security.