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Nigeria, Togo to require biometric digital ID for loan programs

Nigeria, Togo to require biometric digital ID for loan programs
 

West African nations Nigeria and Togo want to use their biometric digital ID systems for managing government loan schemes. In Nigeria, the federal government recently announced that their digital ID, known as the National Identification Number (NIN), will be needed when applying for a students loan. For their part, officials in Togo say they will rely on information in the biometric citizen registry to track and identify defaulting loanees under a government-led financial inclusion initiative.

NIN, BVN needed for Nigeria students loan application

Akintunde Sawyerr, executive secretary of the Students Loans Board said recently that all loan applicants will have to submit biographic and biometric information including a digital ID (NIN) and a biometric bank verification number (BVN).

The official said while the NIN is to attest that the applicant is indeed a Nigerian, the BVN is for financial inclusion purposes as each loanee is required to have a bank account.

A dedicated portal has been set up for the student loans application process and the system will be fully automated, per reporting by Arise News.

In November last year, an ex-president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) had also called for the NIN to be required from student loan applicants as a way of enhancing transparency in the process.

Togo to make use of biometric ID for inclusive finance fund

Those who default on loans obtained under the National Inclusive Finance Fund of Togo (FNFI) – a Togolese government financial inclusion project – will not be able to secure other loans even if they change bank.

This is thanks to a facial recognition system deployed by the program to identify loan defaulters, Togo First reports.

Through the system, all those who fail to meet their loan demands will be flagged in a biometric database and identified whenever they show up for a new loan at any financial institution.

The pilot of the FNFI, ahead of full deployment, is said to have been successfully completed with more than 3,000 loans granted within the two-year trial period.

Assih Mazamesso, minister of Financial Inclusion and Organization of the Informal Sector, says with the new customer database, “if a customer is in the database of unpaid loans, they will be automatically identified using facial recognition at any microfinance window they go to for another loan.”

Togo is known for its technological models for financial inclusion, especially with welfare payments during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

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