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Papua New Guinea considers biometric voting system, launches new digital ID for banking

Papua New Guinea considers biometric voting system, launches new digital ID for banking

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) government is considering deploying a biometric voting system for future elections, according to The National.

Answering questions from the opposition, the country’s prime minister, James Marape, said the biometric system would be easier to create after completing the government’s plan to conduct a census next year.

“We will conduct a comprehensive census in 2023 to get correct data on the population. This will help in improving the voting system so that we have a secure system by 2027.”

At the same time, the prime minister says the biometric voting system is currently only a proposal, which should undergo proper parliamentary approval at some point next year.

“We want them to have full funding and conduct a holistic review into what happened this year and in previous election years dating back to the 2007 election,” Marape said, quoted by The National. “We want them to put in an informed, fact-based suggestion as to how we should conduct elections in 2027 and beyond.”

The head of state confirmed the proposed biometric system would work via the PNG National Identification (NID) system.

PNG bank launches digital ID pilot

The Bank of PNG (BPNG), headquartered in Port Moresby, said it would test a digital ID project with roughly 2,500 individuals in Maprik and Wewak, East Sepik.

The news was reported by The National, which said the project would help some 80 percent of the unbanked and rural population access financial services.

The pilot will reportedly rely on technologies by Finnish digital ID provider Digizen, which will implement the cards and protect individuals’ identities via biometrics.

“The objective of the project is to establish a unique biometric identity guaranteeing the customer due diligence requirements for financial institutions and to enable convenient bank account opening,” explains Women’s Micro Bank (WMBL) chief executive Gunanidhi Das.

“The digital access tool is a digital identity recognition and validation system designed to overcome the hurdles of providing identities for people who lack documentation or are otherwise unable to in our country.”

The pilot project comes months after the government of Papua New Guinea published a draft plan to digitize all public services in the country.

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