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$440m to fast track NIN access for over 150m Nigerians—World Bank

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..As NASS moves to stop NIN precondition for PTDF scholarship entries

Having noticed the incapacitated nature of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and possibly the outcries of the Director General, Mr Aliyu Aziz at the recent Arewa Consultative Summit in Kaduna where he opened up saying that paucity of fund is messing up his strategic plans to produce a credible harmonised biometric database for the country, the World Bank has included Nigeria amongst five nations that will share out $2.2bn to upgrade their national identity ecosystem.

By calculation, its means that the Nigerian agency will get about $440m, which analysts say without any form of official diversion, may be enough to implement Aziz’s target of jumping the NIN registration centres from the paltry 1,000 to 10,000 across Nigeria with new systems and even employment of more hands for the process.

NIMC Lagos Zonal Hqs, Ikeja 2
NIMC Lagos Zonal Hqs, Ikeja: The right entrance door seems to be for JAMB candidate, who are advised to write down their names on arrival, but their experiences and responses to our correspondents show that the left door are for other adults (not coming for JAMB) who have ‘settled’ operatives of the NSCDC who are working in connivance with some NIMC staff already inside and attention is given them faster. Photo: Business Hilights

As clearly stated by the World Bank, “The fund will support the National Identity Management Commission to increase the number of persons who have a national identification number (NIN) reaching about 150 million in the next couple of years.”

The World Bank statement announcing the approval and inclusion of Nigeria in the fund added that “This will enable people in Nigeria, especially marginalised groups, to access welfare-enhancing services. The project will also enhance the ID system’s legal and technical safeguards to protect personal data and privacy.

“This is 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.”

World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, made it further clear that “The World Bank is ramping up support to Nigeria in efforts to lift 100 million out of poverty,” and noted that the “programme of support in fiscal year 2020,” is the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project.

Though efforts to get the official response of NIMC on the World Bank fund failed, there are strong indications that as soon as the fund is made available, access to NIN may increase from the discouraging five million per year to over twenty million as more centres would be established.

Business Hilights recalls that due to the current limited NIN registration centres and hiccups traced to faulty and poorly maintained systems, average number of daily capturing have dropped to less than 1,000 in a day nationwide.

This was the key factor considered by JAMB to suddenly announce the need for NIN in the registration of candidates for 2020 tertiary education entrance exams.

Only recently, the House of Representatives expressed worries on the slow pace of registering for NIN which is currently frustrating students is wishing to enter for PTDF scholarship.

The motion raised by Hon Ben Ibakpa and Hon Ndudi Elumelu called for the suspension of the condition to allow students process their scholarship application with ease.

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