Nigeria to receive $433M from World Bank for biometric national ID registration

The World Bank is pouring $433 million (N1.5 trillion) in support into the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) of Nigeria’s National Identity Number (NIN) program, to enable the agency to register close to 100 million Nigerians over the next three years, Leadership reports.

According to Leadership, the funding comes as part of the World Bank’s support, along with that of the Agence Française de Dévelopement (AFD) and the European Union (EU), for Nigeria’s Digital Identity Ecosystem. NIMC’s strategic roadmap for Nigeria’s Digital Identity Ecosystem was approved by the country’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) a year ago. The framework sets out the enrollment of Nigerians in the National Identity Database and the issuance of NIN as a digital identity credential through government agency and private sector collaboration.

The project now seeks to scale up enrolment and extended it across the country, reduce the cost of data collection and increase the speed of delivery, according to the report.

The World Bank approved the business model developed by NIMC for allowing different agencies and private sector organizations to register Nigerians, and the FEC has approved NIMC’s negotiation with the World Bank on the project’s implementation.

NIMC is now inviting eligible start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), civil society organizations, NGOs, and Nigerian Representatives of Development Partners (NR-DPs) to express their interest in providing NIN data collection and issuance services. The commission is currently reviewing applications, Leadership reports, and will soon announce the organizations meeting its requirements.

Registering all Nigerians is estimated to cost N50 billion ($140 million) annually.

NIMC Operations and Corporate Communications General Manager Abdulhamid Umar told Leadership that while NIMC has been building partnerships to increase NIN registrations, the World Bank funding will ease the registration process.

“We are liberalising the registration process by recruiting agents from the private and public sectors which will register people on behalf of the NIMC in the ecosystem approach we are adopting,” he says. “We are aware of the challenges people might be facing now but we are not folding our arms; we are working assiduously to ensure that most Nigerians are captured. The ecosystem approach should perfect NIN registration exercise.”

Lagos State Pension Commission (LASPEC) Director General Folashade Onanuga says NIMC does not yet have the equipment and human capital to carry out its ambitious registration goal.

“The truth is that registration for this number has been very challenging. NIMC does not have enough resources to embark on the project. We requested for about 10 officials from NIMC to register over a 100,000 workforce in Lagos State so that they can do the exercise within the period of two weeks, but we got only one official. How would a single person attend to all the Lagos workers in two weeks?”

Biometric Update has contacted the World Bank and NIMC for more information, and will update this story based on any response.

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