Nigeria sets 5-year biometric enrollment target for whole population to national ID system

Ghana plans universal health coverage through biometric ID card by 2030
Nigeria sets 5-year biometric enrollment target for whole population to national ID system

Ahead of ID4Africa’s online country profile event on Wednesday September 23, we have dedicated this edition of our overview of digital identity and biometrics news in Africa almost exclusively to Nigeria. The private and financial sectors have been making progress with digital ID technology, and the World Bank and others are financing the acceleration of the biometric national identity scheme, which should allow further progress, but for now is holding things up. Data protection policy development remains on the sidelines.

Nigeria: Timeline for national registration completion revealed

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) needs between three and five years to complete registration of its citizens, This Day Live reports the commission director general, Aliyu Aziz, as saying. Elsewhere the piece suggests the target is 150 million people.

Aziz also explained how collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission and National Orientation Agency would allow voter validation via the National Identity Number (NIN).

Speaking on International Identity Day, September 16, Aziz announced that 42 million Nigerians had registered with NIMC, reports another article by This Day, up by a million since May. The population is around 207 million. He said the NIMC is underfunded and has 200 centers when it needs around 4,000.

The article reported as part of Aziz’s remarks on the day’s theme of ‘Identity for Health, Sustainable Development and Growth’ that security agencies would be able to access the commission’s database to identify people.

The NIMC has been able to harmonize 11 million out of 14 million records supplied by the Central Bank of Nigeria on Bank Verification Numbers, and the process will be extended to incorporate the pension commission and immigration service.

Aziz also said that all children will be registered at birth and be linked to the NIN of one of their parents until the age of 16.

Nigeria: Biometric backdown over re-verification

­The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) backed down soon after announcing the need for account holders to re-register their bank accounts biometrically, reports The Guardian.

Nigerians were asked to do the same thing four years ago, that time by the Central Bank of Nigeria, and were vocal in their complaints when asked to do the same again, telling the government to look to their BVNs and ID numbers for the details. Many believed it was the first move in introducing higher taxes.

The tax agency backed down within hours and apologized, clarifying that the new requirement is for Nigerians outside the country to register.

Nigeria: Data protection bill meeting

Nigeria’s Data Protection Bill was the subject of discussion by several stakeholder agencies reports The Cable, but it is difficult to discern whether any progress was made.

The Legal and Regulatory Reform Working Group, established in March to handle to the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development project, the NIMC and high-ranking federal politicians were present and made sweeping claims on the importance of drafting a bill to ensure trust in the country’s overall identity plans.

Nigeria: World Bank pushes robust identity management to boost digital economy

The World Bank Nigeria Country Director, Chubham Chaudury outlined the group’s recommendations for better management of the digital economy to allow it to thrive and help the country reach its development goals, reports The Guardian.

The bank is financing the country’s national identity registration efforts to the tune of $433 million. Chaudury made the recommendation during a presentation to ministries entitled ‘Digital Identity as a Foundation for Digital Economy and Achieving the SDGs’.

He spoke about an ecosystem approach for ID enrollment and forming partnerships among the private sector, civil society and the government.

Ghana: Electoral register goes on display, issues identified

Almost 6,000 voting centres across the Ashanti Region have put the provisional electoral register on display for citizens to scrutinize, reports the Ghana News Agency.

884 of the centers will be operating biometric verification as a pilot to further fine-tune the system ahead of the December vote, to try matching visitors against the list.

The Member of Parliament for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu, has raised the concern that the names of some voters who registered in the recent exercise do not appear on the roll on display, reports Modern Ghana.

While Iddrisu found a discrepancy of over 200 voters, the article includes the Ashaiman MP Ernest Norgbey who claims to have identified over 21,000 names missing in his constituency alone.

Ghana: Ghana Card for universal health coverage by 2030

Ghana’s biometric national ID credential, the Ghana Card, could be playing a significant role in helping the country reach universal health coverage. The Chief executive of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) says a policy change to allow people to use the Ghana Card to access healthcare via the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) could bring the goal within reach by 2030, reports Peace FM.

The NHIA will make provision for biometric verification for cardholders and determine better resource allocation. The plan is also intended to prevent fraud and make electronic claims more efficient. The chief executive, Dr. Lydia Dsane-Selby believes that the digitization of the economy in general will also lead to greater tax revenues which will go to health.

Nigeria: Award rededicated to overseers of ‘world’s third best biometric visa system’

The winner of a Forbes Best of Africa Award, the founder and chairman of Online Integrated Solutions, Mahmood Ahamadu has dedicated the award to Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola and the Nigerian Immigration Service Comptroller, General Muhammadu Babandede, reports This Day Live.

Ahmadu won the award for exceptional leadership, entrepreneurship and philanthropy and dedicated the prize to the immigration and Interior Ministry team for providing the support and inspiration which allowed Online Integrated Solutions to roll out its system which is referred to as the ‘third best biometric visa system in the world’ in the article.

Reports & Opinion

Nigeria: Bank group chair believes digital banking, BVN is leading to higher customer satisfaction

Fuelled by the challenges of COVID-19, Nigerian banks are making good progress in increasing customer satisfaction by introducing digital technologies and remote user verification, according to the Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Bankers Consultative Committee and Ecobank Managing Director Patrick Akinwuntan speaking on Arise TV, covered by The News Nigeria.

Remote account opening has brought convenience and the BVN’s biometric customer registration system is making the banking sector more secure. He hopes that banks will bring financial services to every household in the country so all can take part in the growth of the largest economy in Africa.

News in Brief & Updates

Link – International Identity Day: Our coverage ID4Africa’s online panel session on International Identity Day with a focus on Nigeria.

Link – Nigeria: ID4Africa is holding an online country progress report dedicated to Nigeria on September 23.

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