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Rifts over Census Law impede e-NIC issuance: Ministry

By Akhtar M.Nikzad: KABUL: The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) and the Interior Ministry are all set to issue Electronic National Identity Cards (e-NIC) but rifts over Census Law and a number of political issues have hindered the process, said officials on Saturday.

The deputy minister of communication and information technology, Mohammad Ajmal Marjan, told Afghanistan Times that the two ministries are ready—financially and technically—to start issuance of e-NIC but there are a number of minor problems that impede the process. “The Census Law was approved by the president six months back but we have not been directed or ordered to start the process of issuing the identity cards so far,” he said.

According to him, the government is working on e-NIC for past three years but it has failed to kick off the process in short time. “Nearly $15 million has been allocated for the process. International donors have pledged to provide $14 million,” he stated.

He said issuance of e-NIC will ensure transparency of upcoming elections in the country—both parliamentary and presidential.

He nudged the National Unity Government (NUG) leaders to overcome differences in Census Law and allow the relevant organizations to start issuance of e-NIC. “We are ready to start the process but we are waiting for government’s order. We have not received any direction in this regard yet,” he added.

Chairman of the e-NIC registration department, Zimarai Bahir, said they have filled at least 110,000 registration forms in Kabul and sent it to the central office. “We have kicked off registration process in 24 ministries for past three months and at least 10 ministries have been completed,” he said.

He added that nearly 200,000 citizens have filled the registration forms, which have been sent to the e-NIC registration department for further process.

However, Sakhi Mushwani, member of internal security commission of the Wolesi Jirga (the Lower House of the parliament), blamed a number of individuals—opportunists according to him—for interfering into the process and rising lingual and ethnic issues.

He said he hopes that the process will begin in near future in order to witness a transparent election in the country.

Another MP, Abdul Rahman Rahmani, blamed the government leaders for delay in e-NIC issuance, and said it is not in favor of the nation; thus the process should kick off as soon as possible.

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