Close to 543 new identification centers will be set up in the 10 regions to facilitate the issuance of national identity cards, public broadcaster CRTV informs. The centers will be set up in the town halls of the 360 municipalities, inside secure buildings provided by the mayors to the General Delegation for National Security (DGSN).
In a fax message sent on May 10th, Minister of Decentralization Georges Elanga Obam instructed senior divisional officers to invite the mayors of their respective command units to take "all the necessary measures" to arrange premises for the installation of the identification centers.
The new system aims to facilitate the obtention of identification documents. In his fax message, Minister Georges Elanga explained that the President of the Republic approved a “new identification system aimed at bringing the service closer to the population.” Getting a new national identity card has become a real challenge for populations. The official waiting period is three months but, some requesters have been waiting for a year now to get their documents. Others have been expecting it for even two years.
A few days ago, while addressing the parliament, Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute said the delays “sometimes” observed in the issuance of national identity cards are due to "the need for the state to secure Cameroonian identity in a context where various forms of fraud are likely to tarnish it." He also cited "material constraints." Disruptions in international supply chains, he said, delayed the delivery of the materials required for the production of identity documents.
According to the DGSN, around 3 million Cameroonians have multiple identification documents with different names. Those individuals refuse to validate their authentic identities because they use the various identities for different purposes, explained DGSN Head Martin Mbarga Nguele, in January 2021, in an attempt to explain the delay observed in the issuance of the documents.
In addition to increasing the number of identification centers, the government is also considering the implementation of an online pre-enrollment platform like it did for passport issuance. Authorities hope the platform will help reduce queues at police stations and facilitate the issuance of this document.