President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika announced Thursday that over 9 million Malawians have registered during the national identity registration exercises which took place from May to October this year.
Speaking during the official announcement of mass registration statistics and handing over of registration campaign and operations to the Malawi Government at the Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, Mutharika said this figure is a 100 percent representation against the initial targeted population.
The exact figure of Malawians who have registered stands at 9, 186, 689.
“Today we announce the closure of mass registration but it is only the mass registration that is closed. There will be a continuous process of registration at all times,” Mutharika said.
He said the National ID card is a game changer that will deal with a number of anomalies in public service delivery.
“With a legal identity of every citizen, government will now flash out ghost workers from the public service and save more money,” he said.
Mutharika added that with the National ID, every citizen can now access banking services because banks will feel secure in dealing with legally identifiable citizens.
“Banks no longer have a reason to deny services to our farmers, mothers and sisters living in rural areas,” the Malawi leader said.
He said as government, they also expect to see an increase in e-commerce and online transactions because the national identity system will step up electronic security.
Said Mutharika: “Not long from now, we will be buying and selling our goods online more than ever. This is transformation.”
Mutharika added that the National ID system is coming when government is about to launch the fibre optic network in a month time.
It is expected that the fibre optic network will increase internet access and that more Malawians will be online accessing affordable and faster internet.
This digital revolution coincides with the national identification system, which functions smoothly with good network, according to Mutharika.
“We are now becoming a more organized society with the national ID system. We will now identify beneficiaries in various socio-services swiftly and precisely. We will plan and deliver fertilizer subsidy, social cash transfer and health services with accuracy,” he said.
Mutharika pointed out that the system will also help government in tightening security on the country’s borders and unlock Malawi’s economic and development potential at household and individual levels.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Chief Technical Advisor Tariq Malik said the registration commitment is a blue print for Mutharika’s administration in empowering Malawians.
“The number of people registered in this campaign speaks volumes in terms of success. This was truly a project by Malawians and for Malawians,” Malik said.
He, therefore, thanked the 4200 Registration Officers who travelled to all parts of the country to register fellow citizens.
Representative of development partners and European Union Ambassador to Malawi Marchel Germann said this is a significant achievement that puts the country on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.
Target number nine under SDG 16 calls United Nations (UN) member states to provide legal identity for all, including birth registration by 2030.
Germann said the digital importance of the national identification exercise offers a unique opportunity for Malawi to position itself as a modern state on the African map.
“Technology can be a tool to establish transparent systems and reforms. What we have witnessed is a milestone for Malawi because this process holds transformative promise for the country,” Germann said.
He said over two million Malawians have already collected their ID cards and that soon they will enjoy the multiple benefits that these cards will offer.