Government has disclosed that it is in the process of introducing Biometric National Registration Cards (NRCs).
The Biometric NRCs will be embedded with a security chip containing data of the holder and its biometric features would make it difficult for the identity card to be forged as is the case with the current cards.
Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Maxwell Nkole who disclosed this in Lusaka yesterday said the security features contained in the chip would, among others, address electoral malpractices.
“We have plans now to introduce the Biometric identity cards which are going to have security chips on them and which will be compliant with the electoral system. This is the programme we are working in conjunction with the Department of National Registration here (Kamwala).
“And with improved work environment here, we feel that once we roll out that programme of national registration it should greatly be able to be managed effectively and on time and therefore alleviate most of the problems that have been associated with electoral votes,” he said.
About US $6 million from Government and cooperating partners has been budgeted for the implementation of the project.
The first phase of the pilot project would be in Lusaka where the Biometric NRCs are expected to be introduced by June, 30 this year to be followed by the second phase in other provincial centres until district level.
From the initial eight successful bidders, three were shortlisted from which one successful firm is in the process of being selected to implement the project by a steering committee.
And in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Nkole during the launch of the US $4.8 million customer service centre at the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship (DNRPC) in Lusaka’s Kamwala area yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu thanked the American Government for funding the renovation works.
“Allow me to most sincerely thank the United States Government for the excellent renovation works made to this building through the USAID.
“This newly refurbished customer service centre now offers an excellent environment to do business to both members of staff and the general public in terms of service delivery,” he said.
Mr Lungu observed the Zambia Institutional Reform Programme funded by the United States Government had many facets and that the refurbishment works in question were just one among many others.
Speaking at the same function, USAID-Zambia mission director Susan Brems highlighted the importance of registering one’s particulars, saying governments could over time track the progress of improving the welfare of their citizenry if a country’s vital statistics were available and reliable.
“USAID invested US $4.8 million in this endeavour. Because we believe firmly in the role of Government in attending to the needs of its citizens, as well as the responsibility of citizens to be in good standing with their government, we consider this investment well spent,” she said.
Dr Brems was happy to note that the new customer service centre would reduce the birth registration process from five days in the past to one day, hoping that Government would roll out such a development to other areas as improvements in services enhanced good governance.
DNRPC registrar general Mathews Nyirongo said the design of the customer service centre was in glass and aluminum, which was a demonstration of the Department’s transparency in combating corruption and other malpractices in its operations.