Business

FG budgets N6.7bn for identity project

NIMC to acquire N80m biometric capture equipment

The Federal Government will this year spend N6.7 billion on the Identity for Development (ID4D) project, New Telegraph has learnt. According to the approved 2021 budget, this amount will be used to pay the multilateral/ bilateral funded loan for the project, which is aimed at increasing the number of persons with the National Identity Number (NIN) and building a robust and inclusive foundational identification system that facilitates their access to services.

The ID4D project loan payment accounts for 90.5 per cent of the total amount to be spent on capital projects by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) this year. The commission is to spend the sum of N7.4 billion on capital projects this year, according to the approved budget.

The project, which started last year, is being financed through an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $115 million and co-financing of $100 million from the French Agency for Development and $215 million from the European Investment Bank. According to the World Bank, which facilitated the loans and monitoring the project, as of September 30, 2020, IDA had released its $115 million commitment.

Part of the project’s target is that Nigeria must have issued NIN to 148 million of its citizens by June 2024. According to the Head of Corporate Communications at the NIMC, Mr. Kayode Adegoke, about 50 million Nigerians have so far been issued the NIN.

This leaves the country with about 98 million to be captured in four years. Incidentally, a recent directive by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, that all telecom subscribers must have NIN will be helping the country in achieving the ID4D target. To that end, about 200 organisations, states, and institutions licensed by the Federal Government to enrol Nigerians for NIN are expected to start work this week. Meanwhile, NIMC is to acquire new biometric capture equipment this year to boost its capacity for data capturing. An analysis of the approved budget showed that a sum of N80 million was approved for the acquisition.

The World Bank in its recent review of the ID4D project described the country’s progress towards achieving the target of the project as ‘satisfactory.’ Aside from issuing NIN to 148 million Nigerians by 2024, the bank listed other targets to include the issuance of NIN to at least 65 million female Nigerians by June 1, 2024, as well as 50 million NIN to children under 16 years of age.

Besides, the bank said the country must have begun digital registration and issuance of NIN at birth with a target of 100,000 babies already issued the number by June 1, 2024. Other performance indicators set for the country include the development of pro-poor functional public and private services employing the foundational ID system for the purpose of authentication and service delivery; NIN enrolments in rural areas; Government personnel trained in best practices for legal and regulatory enabling environments for foundational ID, including privacy and data protection, all of which must have been achieved by June 2024.

Part of the project’s requirements also makes it mandatory for the country to develop “a legal and regulatory framework that adequately protects individuals’ personal data and privacy.” This, an industry analyst said, was the reason the Federal Government had recently come up with a draft Bill for the establishment of a Data Protection Commission in the country through the Data Protection Bill 2020. The executive bill, which is currently being subjected to expert review, is expected in the current National Data Pro-tection Regulation (NDPR), which was developed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to protect Nigerians against data abuse.

The World Bank stated that the objective of the Digital Identification for Development Project for Nigeria is “to increase the number of persons with a national ID number, issued by a robust and inclusive foundational Identification (ID) system that facilitates their access to services.”

The project, according to the World Bank, has four components, which include strengthening the legal and institutional framework component that will finance the reform of the ID legal, regulatory, and institutional framework. “Establishing a robust and inclusive foundational ID system component will support the harmonisation of existing functional ID systems and the establishment of a digital foundational ID platform that issues free of charge a unique national ID number (NIN) as an identity credential to all persons in Nigeria as well as Nigerians living abroad,” it stated.

 

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