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Nigeria to link biometric BVN with national ID card by 2016


Nigeria’s federal government has unveiled its plan to link bank customers’ biometrics-enabled bank verification numbers (BVN) with their national identity card data by next year, according to a report by This Day Live.

Ade Shonubi, managing director of the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) detailed the plan in a paper presented at the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (NDIC) ongoing workshop for financial journalists, held in Ilorin.

NIBSS chief risk officer Osioke Ojior discussed the paper in his presentation, “Managing Risks of e-Banking”, where he said the initiative would improve the overall efficiency of Nigeria’s payment system.

Ojior said that the BVN is intended to use biometric data as a means of identifying and verifying those individuals who have account(s) at any Nigerian bank, as well as authenticating customer’s identity at the point of transactions.

Launched last year, the BVN project includes credit check, know-your-customer, fraud management and transaction authentication, said Shonubi, adding that the payment system also includes strategic, preventable and external risks.

As of September 30, there are 98,158 agents enrolled in the mobile money sub-sector, according to Dipo Fatokun, Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) director of banking and payment system department.

He also added that there were a total of 24,389,263 mobile money subscribers at the end of September, which have resulted in a total volume of 76,952,409 transactions valued at N815,464,917,062.94 (US$4,092,679,790).

In developing countries such as Nigeria, the majority of the unbanked population rely on cash or informal financial services which are largely unsafe, inconvenient and expensive, said Fatokun.

Upon recognizing the country’s rapid growth of mobile telephony (over 120 million subscribers, according to the Nigerian Communication Commission estimates) and the fact that most of the unbanked population have access to mobile phones, the CBN decided to adopt a mobile payment system.

“One of the cardinal objectives of introducing mobile money in Nigeria is to stimulate financial inclusion,” said Fatokun. “Financial inclusion enables underserved people and communities to have access to financial services that would enhance their economic opportunities; boost productivity in various sectors and, contribute to economic growth.”

Previously reported, Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) said it had begun collaborating with other federal agencies in the issuance of National Identification Number (NIN) to create a strong national database.

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