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Enhanced infrastructure to deliver Nigeria’s biometric digital ID planned for NIMC

digital identity biometric registration

Nigeria’s Communications and Digital Economy Minister Dr. Isa Pantami says plans are afoot to equip the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) with state-of-the-art infrastructure so as to improve the quality of its services toward achieving the country’s digital ID project, Vanguard reports.

The NIMC is the federal government agency responsible for overseeing the biometric capture process for the issuance of the national identification number (NIN), which is now compulsory for a number of public services in the country, including recently for the registration of new SIM cards.

During a recent meeting with the NIMC management team, Pantami said he was committed to delivering on the digital ID project because it was a crucial factor for Nigeria’s development trajectory. The biometric ID, he added, is critical to national planning and policy across various sectors such as education, healthcare, and agriculture, among others.

Pantami said he was working on the instructions and guidance of President Muhammadu Buhari in order to get the ongoing NIN registration process right, Vanguard notes.

“We need to do more for NIMC and our country. I consider the President’s directive as a vote of confidence on me. He said we must get this national identity right because we cannot continue to live in a country where we estimate our population. There is need for us to do that,” Vanguard quoted Pantami as telling an NIMC team led by Acting Board Chair Mallam Bello Ibrahim, which he met recently.

“We will continue to work harder and make sure that the infrastructure of NIMC is enhanced and improved significantly so that all of us will be proud of the brand new NIMC,” he added.

The Minister said apart from investing in modern infrastructure, measures are also being taken to improve the salary and welfare situation of NIMC staff to enable them put in their best at work.

In February, NIMC authorities assured that the digital ID project was well on course and that the target of issuing the biometric ID to at least 100 million Nigerians by 2022 would likely be met.

Biometrics to check civil service fraud in two States

Meanwhile, the States of Adamawa and Gombe in Nigeria say they are opting for biometric systems to check civil service fraud and cut the huge spending on ghost workers, per local reports.

Leadership reports that Adamawa has confirmed a biometric verification process for workers on the state payroll, beginning May 6. The process is planned to last for six weeks, and is in consonance with the State’s fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability program.

The State Permanent Secretary for Establishment and Training, Dr. Barminus Gayus, explained that the exercise will also involve retirees as well as workers in ministries, departments and agencies.

In Gombe, the plan is to put in place a biometric system which will check attendance for civil service workers, and in so doing identifying absentee workers on the state payroll, reports Vanguard.

The system, the report adds, will cost about N1.49 billion (about US$3.9 million) and will be deployed at both state and local government levels with the aim of ensuring transparency of salary and pension earners and the better management of human resource capacities.

This move, announced by the State Commissioner of Finance and Economic Development, Muhammad Magaji, is within the framework of a project dubbed “Gombe state Integrated Payroll Payment Gateway and Human Resource Management Information System,” and comes after a pilot which revealed tens of millions of Naira were saved at state and local government levels by identifying ghost workers on the payroll.

“This system is to checkmate these excesses, to ensure that when you come to work, it will verify your facial description through facial capturing and that will authenticate your attendance while also taking your fingerprints,” Vanguard quoted Magaji as saying.

Measures, he added, have also been taken to ensure the system is not compromised.

Other states have used biometric technology to tackle public service problems, such as in Borno, where biometrics were used to identify unqualified teachers in primary schools across the state.

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