No fewer than 42 million unique records are in the National Identity Database, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) announced on Thursday.
The director-general of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, made this revelation while participating in a three-day Africa Tech Leaders Webinar Series on COVID-19 organised by Digital Jewels Limited.
The webinar series drew high-level participants from the public sector in Africa- Nigeria, Ghana, and Rwanda.
Mr Aziz who spoke on the disparity in technology adoption between the private and public sectors in Nigeria, said his commission has the mandate of the Nigerian government backed by a $433 million financial aid from the World Bank, the French Development Agency (AfD) and the European Union to enrol all Nigerians and foreign legal residents within the next five years.
Mr Aziz said alongside the enrolment of people into the National identity Database, the commission has successfully harmonised 14 million Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) with National Identity Numbers (NIN). He said the process is still ongoing.
Mr Aziz also explained by BVN and not NIN is used for the administration of COVID-19 palliatives:
“If you’re doing anything about payments you can go through BVN. But NIN is the foundational identity. BVN and the NIN follow the same standard. When there’s a pandemic, the government can readily use what’s available,” he said.
Mr Aziz said the commission adopts the global best practices in data management. He said the NIMC ISO certification in 2014, and recent recertification in 2020 is a confirmation of the commission’s capability at protecting its data.
“The process of capturing and storing the data is secured and there are data protection guidelines and a data protection Bill in the National Assembly awaiting passage,” he said.
Mr. Aziz said the pandemic has presented an opportunity for the public sector in Nigerian and African to embrace technology and make swift decisions to effect change to suit the current reality.
Answering a question on the huge disparity in technology adoption between the private and public sectors in Nigeria, the NIMC CEO said that the public sector has not quite adopted technology and, there is the need for change management.
“The slow adoption can be attributed to factors such as problem definition, policy formulation, political will, the disparity in remuneration, population size, and too many cooks,” he said.
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