FG may require $2.3bn to develop digital identification in 5yrs ― Report

•Wants NIMC to adopt competitive market for ID issuances

THE Federal Government may need to spend between $433million to $2.3billion to develop a digital identity in Nigeria within three to five years, a report has stated.

This is even as it suggested that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), adopts the use of competitive marketplace of firms offering Identity Cards(ID) as service to people according to laws and regulations of the country.

The already approved report was obtained by the Tribune Online at the commemoration of the National Identity day organised by NIMC in Abuja on Monday.

The report titled: “A strategic roadmap for developing digital identification in Nigeria”, offered a pathway for the FG to develop identification at a low cost and fast pace.

According to the report, the roadmap is intended to be achieved within three to five years away from the current pace of development.

It added that the cost of the program is broadly determined by three drivers which are enrolment approach, the amount of information collected and credential offered as ID proof.

Also, on the issuance of the e-ID cards to Nigerians upon enrolment, the report noted that card issuance was formerly slow and now on hold, due to funding and capacity constraints.

It said since card issuance began in November 2014, the agency has printed approximated 1million cards and issued 0.5million cards, thus the need for the NIMC to review its strategies.

“Currently, the NIMC operates an in-house facility to customize an issue multi-purpose smartcards to people in Nigeria. NIMC manages the entire supply chain of printing, shipping and distributing ID cards.

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“To alleviate cost and capacity challenges, NIMC may alter its strategy and use a competitive marketplace of firms for people to obtain ID cards in Nigeria”, it reads

Currently, the NIMC has registered a total of 37million Nigerians into the national identity database with over 100 million unregistered.

However, only a few of the registered Nigerians have received the e-ID cards.

The NIMC had also stressed that the National Identification Number (NIN) is the unique identifier and most important token issued by the Commission and not the physical e-ID Card.

It said that the NIN is used to tie all records about an individual in the database and is verifiable via the NIMC Verification Service (NVS) portal which is made available to institutions and organisations upon request.

In his keynote address, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation(SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha who spoke through the Permanent Secretary Political and Economic Affairs Office Mr.Gabriel Tanimu said effective capture of all Nigerians will check the issue of ghost workers especially in the civil service, ensure securit7y among others.

“This event as you are all aware is aimed at raising awareness about the pivotal role of the digital identity. The truth is that if we are able to have this in a place like we have worked overtime, if we are able to effectively manage our national identity the benefits are enormous in the area of population management, job management security. It can also check the issue of ghost workers especially with the biometrics component,” he said.

Also, he expressed hope that the NIMC would commence issuance of the e-ID cards saying; “I am very happy to see that between 2015 and 2019, we have been able to move from about 7 million captured to about 36million.

“I sincerely hope that going forward, those 36 million  will have their general multipurpose cards because that is what identifies them  it is not enough for to just have the acknowledgement slip we need to go beyond that.”

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