President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered all government data and biometrics collating agencies to harmonise their data collation before the end of 2023, saying he targets to achieve a central database for the country before the end of his second tenure in 2023.
He gave this directive at the third National Identity Day 2021 with the theme – ‘Identity, a tool for sustainable digital economy and national security’ organized by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday.
Represented by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, Buhari said a centralized database would help the nation tackle challenges in various sectors of the economy, especially insecurity.
‘‘Immediately it is concluded, then it will no longer be difficult to fix any challenge being confronted by Nigeria. If we have a complete database, it is that data we use for national planning and this will help government to take critical decision on education, health, agriculture. It is because of this Mr. President has directed the National Population Commission, NPC to join hands together with NIMC to ensure they establish a complete data that will guide government when it comes to national planning, budget security and many more,’’ he said.
Represented by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Engr. Bitrus Nabasu, in his own remarks, Pantami said the NIMC had recorded unprecedented achievements under the supervision of the ministry since October 2020.
“Through the support of Mr President and the innovative approaches put in place to implement the Nigeria Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), as well as collaboration with all relevant public and private stakeholders, the ICT sector has seen unprecedented growth in the history of Nigeria, contributing 17.92 per cent to the total real GDP in Q2 2021, which is the highest contribution the sector has ever made to Nigeria’s GDP,” he said.
Describing the theme of this year’s ID Day as very apt and timely, Pantami said the country affirmed government’s promise to support the development of digital identification each year the country celebrates the day.
According to him, the purpose of the ID Day is to raise and promote awareness and actions on the important role identity plays in empowering individuals and enhancing their access to services and the formal economy.
“At the heart of today’s celebration is the need to raise awareness and sensitize the citizenry about the pivotal role of digital identification in Nigeria. Our enthusiasm to build a local digital economy, curb widespread economic and social exclusion is hinged on the necessity to assign every Nigerian and legal resident with a unique identity.
“In this regard, and under our supervision, NIMC has achieved great strides in the drive to enrol every Nigerian and legal resident for the issuance of the National Identification Number (NIN). The commission has achieved this through the scale up of enrolment and registration centres (ERCs) across the country and in the diaspora. We have implemented novel policy initiatives that has led to tremendous increase in the registration of persons to over 63 million records and counting on the National Identity Database (NIDB).
“Shortly, you will witness the launch of some novel identity solutions that are targeted at easing the enrolment process and bringing to the fore, the ingenuity of Nigerians to address local challenges with ‘global’ solutions, and the willingness of this administration to pay attention to and work with all stakeholders interested in promoting the growth of the digital economy and the country at large. All 3 innovative solutions being launched today are novel, not just in Nigeria, but also across the African continent and this reflects the commitment of Mr President to promote indigenous solutions that will also stand out globally,” he added.
Earlier in his remarks, the director-general of NIMC, Engr Aliyu Aziz said the commission engaged over 200 private and public partner organizations for data capture services with over 8000 registration centres nationwide.
He said these partners had captured and generated over 20 million NIN in the past nine months resulting in over 63 million unique NINs in the National Identity Database, adding the agency also executed financing agreements with the three development partners, namely the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD) and European Investment Bank (EIB) amongst others.
The high point of the occasion was the unveiling of the three indigenous innovative solutions, NIMC MobileID App, Tokenization and Contactless enrolment solutions all developed to enhance digital identity enrolment in the country.