Nigeria loses $2b annually to agencies’ duplication of biometrics data collection

A Nigerian information technology expert has revealed that the country’s federal government may be losing $2 billion annually to the duplication of biometric collection by government agencies, according to a report by The Guardian.

Jacob Edo, an official of the IT unit of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), said that funds used in the management of biometric infrastructure including the money paid out to consultants may have accumulated to the lump sum.

In discussing the proliferation rate of data collection across Nigeria, Edo said that approximately 23 government agencies that are not interconnected are currently collecting biometrics resulting in the duplication and multiplication of government effort and policy collision.

He condemned the government’s approach to providing digital services as the majority of agencies are doing it for themselves and none of them are interconnected.

Instead, Edo said these agencies should combine their efforts to ensure that they all collect data in the same way.

He cited recent statistics that show that Nigeria may require $15 million to keep the government operating, adding that if if the government does not start lowering costs it may be forced to borrow from other sources to pay employee salaries.

He also mentioned that some of these obstacles have been prioritized into three parts, including reforms in the Nigerian Civil Service/Public service, looking to public service in other developed country such as Kenya who are more advanced in the digitalization of their economy, and potential solutions to improving the efficiency of the public service.

Edo recommended that the government could improve easy access and lower prices of data services by investing in fibre reel as it would bring data closer to citizens and is relatively affordable.

Earlier this year, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Director General and CEO Aliyu Aziz said that Nigeria’s relationship with biometrics and other vendors working on its National Identity Number (NIN) program has significantly improved, along with the results.

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