May 8, 2013 -
The Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and MasterCard have jointly announced at the World Economic Forum on Africa, the introduction of 13 million MasterCard-branded National Identity Smart Cards, which include electronic payment capabilities as a pilot program.
“We have chosen MasterCard to be the payment technology provider for the initial rollout of the National Identity Smart Card project because the Company has shown a commitment to furthering financial inclusion through the reduction of cash in the Nigerian economy,” Chris Onyemenam, the Director General and Chief Executive of NIMC said. “MasterCard has pioneered large scale card schemes that combine biometric functionality with electronic payments and we want to capitalize on their experience in this field to make our program rollout a sustainable success for the country and for the continent.”
The new identity smart card will incorporate the unique National Identification Numbers of duly registered persons in the country. Enrollment involves recording demographic and biographical data as well as the capture of 10 fingerprints, facial image and a digital signature that are used to authenticate the cardholder.
“Today’s announcement is the first phase of an unprecedented project in terms of scale and scope for Nigeria,” Michael Miebach, President, Middle East and Africa for MasterCard said. “MasterCard has been a firm supporter of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Cashless Policy as we share a vision of a world beyond cash. From the program’s inception, we have provided the Federal Government of Nigeria with global insights and best practices on how electronic payments can enable economic growth and create a more financially inclusive economy.”
As reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, in 2012, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) of Nigeria announced its proposal to capture the biometrics of every Nigerian and issue national identity numbers within a period of only 30 months. In January of this year, the National Population Commission announced it had started a comprehensive biometric capture exercise.
Later in 2012, Chairman of the National Population Commission, Festus Odimegwu said other government agencies (such as the NIMC) which had been collecting biometric data will pool that information with the NPC. The chairman also controversially suggested that any Nigerian who is not captured in this most recent demographic survey will not be recognized as a citizen of Nigeria after the 2016 national population census