Nigeria reaches 100M digital IDs issuance milestone, eyes World Bank target
Nigeria’s Digital Economy Minister Ali Isa Ibrahim Pantami is being praised for spearheading efforts which led Nigeria to issuing 61 million digital IDs, known as National Identification Numbers (NINs) within just a period of three years, taking the overall number of issuance to over 100 million.
Pantami says he took over as Digital Economy Minister in 2019 when only 39 million NINs had been issued within a period of 13 years (from 2007 to then). However, when he came on board, he worked to empower the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) which ensured the number climbs to over 100 million, reports The Guardian.
Speaking recently during an event to commission 4,366 digital economy projects which were carried out under his reign, Pantami stated that huge sums of money were spent during the 13 years which saw just 39 million NINs issued, but when he took over, most of the results were achieved thanks to the strong collaboration they built with some tech companies in the country.
Also, Pantami said a lot was done to improve the working conditions of NIMC staff such as a 300 percent increase of their salaries as well as the adoption of tech innovations, which he said, have contributed immensely to the country’s gross domestic project.
With 100 million NINs now issued and counting, it remains to be seen if the country will meet the World Bank’s recommendation of enrolling 148 million people for digital ID by June 2024, although Pantami said in June last year at ID4Africa 2022 that the country was well on course for the target.
The digital ID project in Nigeria has funding from the World Bank which set some target for the country when a partnership was concluded in 2020 through the institution’s ID4D project.
To reach the 148 million mark, which also includes issuing the digital ID to a certain number of women and children, means Nigeria has to issue 49.3 million more NINs by June next year, according to Technext.
Meanwhile, as part of their recognition to Pantami for his great stewardship of the Ministry and the NIN issuance stride, the governing board of the NIMC honoured the Minister with a certificate of appreciation.
Techeconomy reports that dignitaries who attended the commissioning event heaped praises on Pantami for his exploits in improving Nigeria’s digital economy as the Minister in charge for the past four years. A compendium of achievements of the Minister was also unveiled during the event in the form of a publication.
Recently, the federal government told commercial banks to soon begin issuing bank cards with NINs which should also serve as national IDs.