By Leonard Masauli
Likoma, April 15, Mana: People of Likoma have bemoaned delay by National Registration Bureau (NRB) to renew their national identity cards, saying this has crippled transactions that require the cards.
One concerned Citizen in Chizumulu Island, Leonard Katapa, said since he applied for renewal for his ID a year ago, he is yet to receive his identity card despite several follow ups with NRB district office in Likoma.
He said there are a number of people that need to renew IDs but are failing to travel from Chizumulu Island to NRB office in Likoma for the process.
“The NRB office is in Likoma and for us to travel, we need money. We feel this is challenging to us. To some of us who already applied for the renewal of our IDs, we have not got them yet.
“We request NRB to go in the communities to conduct the registration for renewal of the IDs because not all can manage to travel to Likoma. We further call NRB to extend the years of expiry for the IDs,” said Katapa.
However, National Registration Bureau spokesperson person, Norman Fulatira, attributed the delay to network problems in Likoma.
“NRB has one printing facility in Lilongwe and all printed national IDs are transported back to the island.
“Because of the location of the island, we have had some connectivity challenges forcing officers from Likoma to travel to Nkhata Bay or Lilongwe to have their data synchronised and printed.
“This causes some delay in service delivery. We are planning to conduct periodic outreach registration campaigns in the next financial year in order to reach out to those staying far including the people of Chizumulu Island,” said Fulatira.
On the expiry period for the IDs, Fulatira said the initial expiry period is 10 years and is linked to ones date of birth to avoid the identity cards expiring at same time.
Fulatira said however, NRB made it a point that whoever had a card expiry before 2020, their expiry date should be pushed to 2021 and as a result, all cards which were supposed to expire in 2018, 2019, and 2020, were all pushed to 2021.
A local radio station reported on Wednesday that NRB is overwhelmed with people wanting to renew their IDs and that their offices are crowded with those seeking the service.
The bureau, through its spokesperson Fulatira, said they would be asking for more staff from the Treasury Department to help in receiving funds from the IDs renewal applicants.