By LUKE KAMA
A new registrar-general of the PNG Civil and Identity Registry has been appointed to look into the K230 million National Identity (NID) project and clean up the mess created in the NID office.
National Planning and Monitoring Minister Richard Maru when announcing Michael Kumung as the acting registrar-general in Port Moresby on Friday, highlighted that the NID project was a very important for the national government.
“This projects is not about just registering people and giving them NID cards,” Maru said.
“It was a very important project that the Government was driving to have a system in place where important statistics can be collected to do planning on resources and deliver services to the people in areas of health, education, law and order, roads and all the other government services.
“We need to do evidence-based planning for service delivery and the NID project is one that will provide the Government with these information.”
He said despite the Government spending about K230 million on this project over the last five years, only 146,567 NID cards have been printed and issued.
“There has never been any report on how the funds were expended or on the project implementation to the Government for deliberation,” Maru said.
“We have had people waiting for almost six months to receive their NID cards and we see very long queues in these NID offices.
“We have had officers charging people to produce their NID cards and that is uncalled for.
“They were supposed to be produced free of charge and should take days to produce and not weeks and months.”
Maru said there had been no control and reporting in the NID project and to change the way things were going in the NID office, it had to start with the management and now a new registrar-general was appointed to clean up the mess and restore confidence in the office.
“All casual staff will be retrenched, new positions will be advertised for permanent staff and I have every confidence in Michael to clean the mess created in NID office and furnish a report within the next three months on the project for the Government to deliberate,” he said.
Kumung, who was the first assistant secretary for planning division at the National Planning Department at the time of his appointment, commended Maru and the Government for having the trust and confidence in him to clean up the mess in the PNG NID office and lead the organisation forward.
By LUKE KAMA