"On a positive note, this experience gives us the option and opportunity to look at what our default arrangements are if a good system like this fails."

The NID Registration and Issuance of Cards system was down, affecting both registrations and issuance of NID cards for a week until this week when the system was fixed. According to the Acting Civil Registrar Mr Noel Mobiha, the delay in making this known to the public was because management thought National Professional Technicians can be able to pin point the problem and rectify it during the weekend.

Based on previous experience, the loading of data to the system from the NID registration forms compiled from all corners of Papua New Guinea started late last year, with registration numbers going way beyond the preprogrammed capabilities of the system used. This resulted in the collapse of the printing of cards component last year saw the whole system fail in conducting other functions that ultimately generate the required outcome.  

Mr Mobiha further added that, apart from this, there are a few other issues that might have contributed to the down time experienced currently like when this happened late last year around the same time there was also a major power outage which was the same time that we lost the printing component.

”We are of the opinion that in Soft Systems in Technological Platforms, if the big systems such as this one, don’t shut down properly it causes all sorts of damages so we think the power glitz could have had something to do with the current issue but we are still investigating all the options to that” Mr Mobiha said.

Further to that, a second issue was experienced just late last week where NID Staff couldn’t log into the system to do registration work. Apart from that there was another blackout last week and also since the launch of the National Data Entry Center last week the office has had to deal with unprecedented numbers of registrations from 800 registrations per day to approximately 3000 registrations per day on the back load of registrations that is still sitting there.

“We don’t know whether the system is designed to facilitate that type of work load or not but we think it is capable of doing it but we don’t have the visibility to it to see any further how it can do that. We are saying this on the basis of our understanding of the system in the fact that when overloaded the printing machine we lost some files along the way which we then went and recovered. So it showed us that the system has a limit,” Mobiha said.

So it could be the system itself or the glitzes that caused the system to not shutdown properly. A NID Information Technology Team is currently looking into it to see if they can do it themselves.

"On a positive note, this experience gives us the option and opportunity to look at what our default arrangements are if a good system like this fails."

To that regard, since last week NID Policy Officials are working with Immigration Policy Officials to look at ways to fast track the registration and certificates without the system making sure the person identified is the person the certificate is issued to and come up with an arrangement Immigration Officials are happy with.

To the question of, what happens if the system doesn’t come back online then currently,the NID Office is in discussions to secure a specialist from the designers of the system directly to come and have a look at issue and sort it out.

According to Mr Mobiha, two important things came out of this outage:

1.      We now have got to derive an alternative path to address critical requirements of the public with regard to certificates.

2.      And this gives us the opportunity to carry out more registrations.

Roderick MANDAU
January 23, 2019