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National I.D. card to become reality: P.M. Tuilaepa

Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, has assured citizens that a national identification card will soon become a reality for Samoa.

Speaking during the launching of the second phase of the project through a live stream with Norwegian consultants who are the contractors, Tuilaepa laid out all the reasons why Samoa should have its own version of the American ‘social security’ identification card. 

“With the changes in technology coupled with the country’s economic growth, the timing is right,” he said. 

The National Identification Project has been in the pipeline since 2017 but hit a snag due to funding shortfall until it received a full endorsement of funding from the World Bank in 2018.

Tuilaepa noted that national identification is more than a cost-effective investment which will create new jobs for many Samoans.

He also highlighted how the National Identification Initiative will improve the delivery of public services by replacing voter identification and medical identification, and other services including Samoa National Provident Fund Identification.

There is also ongoing research to determine if the identification can be used for immigration purposes or a passport, Tuilaepa added.

“The current system of furnishing identification depending on different sources of documents for verification, which are not limited to birth certificates are easily infiltrated by the criminal minds,” Tuilaepa further reiterated.

“But if we have our own electronic identification, security will be difficult to breach.”

Tuilaepa also noted the normality of families choosing their own last names, which is something Ministries have had problems with for years with unmatched identities on different Government systems.

“The more surnames a person can use, the higher the chance for them to manipulate systems, commit fraudulent acts and theft,” he said.

But with the single system of the National Identification to record and track every Samoan, lapses that arose from such differences are tackled.

In 2019, the project was jump-started by the Samoa Bureau of Statistics under Cabinet directive which led to the recruiting of the consultation company to build Samoa’s National ID system.

The Norwegian Consultation company had been contracted to work with the Bureau of Statistics [S.B.S.] and the Ministry of Communication, Information and Technology [M.C.I.T.] to implement the national project.

The public consultations on the project were on Tuesday and Wednesday at the TATTE building.

“I acknowledge with much appreciation your great effort in putting together the Inception report, as well as the webinar for these first two days of public consultations,” the Prime Minister concluded.

“While time is very critical for the implementation of this project, with the CoVID-19 overshadowing our efforts, I wish you will still be able to deliver in the best of your abilities the benefits and challenges of this Project in these two days for our people to understand fully the main purpose and outcome of this project.”

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