The Nigerian government has now approved a new system to make getting a National Identity Card more accessible for the country’s populace. Nigerians can now have their local commercial banks provide them with a debit card that also serves as their National Identity Card at no additional cost. Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, announced this at an Abuja press conference, saying that the decision had been approved at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
Prof. Isa Pantami attributed its approval to a memorandum from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) that authorized banks to produce debit cards that also served as national identification cards. He explained that it will function as both a national identification card and a financial card (Mastercard, Visa, or any kind of card) in one convenient package. Demand for physical cards has increased, despite the fact that the NIMC Act of 2007 only requires Nigerians to have a National Identity Number and not necessarily a printed card.
Banks can issue the card alongside a Mastercard or a Visa card.
According to him, section 27 of the NIMC Act of 2007 makes the acquisition of a National Identity Number mandatory for citizens and legal residents but not the physical card. Despite the fact that having a NIMC physical card is optional, many residents, especially those who reside in rural communities, frequently visit NIMC offices to express their dissatisfaction with the requirements. Last year, NIMC introduced a smart ID card that can be obtained through the NIMC mobile app. Having this smart card can be used instead of having a physical card.
To this end, the NIMC’s collaboration with the CBN, as stated, would make it easier for Nigerians who are interested in obtaining a card to do so. He claims the bank can issue the card alongside a Mastercard or a Visa card. According to the terms of the agreement, it will be provided to the residents at no extra cost and will take the shape of a multi-use card that can be used as both a national ID and a banking card.
NIMC and the CBN had signed a non-disclosure agreement.
When applying for a bank debit card, it is possible for you to specify that you want the card to function as both a bank card and a national identity card. Both will be included on the same card, which will thereby fulfill both functions at no extra charge. The Minister also revealed that the NIMC and the CBN had signed a non-disclosure agreement to safeguard the personal information of those who applied for cards.
Furtherly, he elaborated that the bank would submit an online application to NIMC via their database when a customer applied for a card. The request would be approved and the card would be created for the application as soon as it was confirmed that the applicant’s record in the database matched the record in the NIMC database. The Minister further disclosed that FEC has approved a memo suggesting the rollout of an automated system to link NINs with individual SIM cards.
Nigeria is expeditiously integrating digital database systems.
He pointed out that using this approach would streamline the NIN-SIM connection’s actual implementation. According to Prof. Pantami, the automated system would clean up the database and make swapping SIM cards easier for citizens and legal residents of Nigeria. It’s not surprising that Nigeria is advancing expeditiously towards integrating digital database systems. This progress is evident in the scheduled first-ever 2023 Digital Census and the federal government’s push last year for NIN linkage with SIM cards across the country.