The Senior Special Assistant to the President of ICT, Mr Lanre Osibona has clarified online news report under the headline: ‘Nigerian Govt To Spend Additional $3.1bn On Digital National Identity’.
According to him, the said report was not only inaccurate but entirely misleading, adding that the issues and challenges around the successful implementation of the National Identity are many, and they must be addressed collectively.
Relying on World Bank’s research in 2015, the SSA pointed out that the Country has spent $1.2 billion since the late 1970’s however, much work remains undone. “We are projected to spend an additional $3.1 billion if we are to follow the existing approach of developing identification in Nigeria. In other words, with the present administration’s prudent management of funds and applying cost-effective approaches across the ID ecosystem, the country could spend less on the project.
Acknowledging that funding had not been a key issue, he added that “one of the biggest challenges in achieving a holistic and robust national identity has been the lack of a workable ecosystem and practical approaches.”
He pointed out some of the changes that have been made and are ongoing.
Some of those immediate changes include, but not limited to employing a smart approach such as “reducing the number of identity attributes, we will be collecting from what I believe was 75 attributes to just ONLY 10 for the NIMC Foundational System. The idea is that we have a baseline of basic data of all Nigerians which can be built on by Functional ID stakeholders.”
“We have also analyzed cost-effective methods to transition from the issuance of physical cards as ID into a digital National Identity Number (NIN) if we are to truly register all our citizens”.
“On planning and implementation. The implementation of the National Identity will be undertaken as a project-based deliverable. Starting with the development of the Harmonized Digital National Identity Strategic roadmap, for which we are undergoing a final review with all of you stakeholders. In addition, we have clearly defined key milestone deliverables, done our forecasted expenditures (OPEX & CAPEX) and the associated funding, and mapped out a timeframe to ensure there are measurable successes.”
VP Osinbajo speaking on a panel on Migration issues @ Davos, says rather than another Marshal plan, Africa will rather appreciate reasonable trade policies with Europe, policies that create jobs in Africa. #WEF2018 pic.twitter.com/jxOGwlfMTp
— Laolu Akande (@akandeoj) January 24, 2018
“However, these changes are only as good as our collective efforts. Everyone has a part to play in developing a robust and innovative identity ecosystem.” “The benefits of a single National Identity System with biometrics, offering a unique digital identity number to every person – are numerous. Enabling innovation, fostering social inclusion and a socially responsible society, enhance the development of a more efficient national planning, robust and effective security management”.
However, it is important to point out that SSA, Mr Lanre Osibona (who was at the meeting on his capacity as the VP’s representative) was suggestive in his remarks and made no affirmations during the stakeholder meeting on the
adoption of the ‘Strategic Roadmap Document for Developing Digital Identity Ecosystem’ in Nigeria. “Each stakeholder (for both Foundational and Functional uses) stands to gain tremendously from this system”.
Today, I participated in recording a video message on the shared future in a fractured world. pic.twitter.com/KmnnAgWhAJ
— Prof Yemi Osinbajo (@ProfOsinbajo) January 23, 2018
He further pointed out that the FRSC can leverage on the harmonized digital identity ecosystem to enforce traffic offences and telephone operators will have a robust database to verify existing and new customers and can focus their attention to innovative offerings.
Also, bank operators can accelerate the KYC process and extend innovative financial solutions to a wider segment of society and overall security benefits of curbing fraudulent activities in a current environment of anonymity.
The Senior Aide from the Office of the Vice President called for a spirit of collaboration, saying that no man is the sole repository of knowledge; “while there must be a single-mindedness in our drive to strive forward, contributions are necessary if we are to successfully implement this program”.
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