Business Hilights
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One month after, NIMC silent on W’Bank facility for NIN, NDIEP

On Wednesday (February 18, 2020) in Washington DC, the World Bank announced the approval of Nigeria’s digital identity ecosystem project along with five others, aimed at assisting the country to empower citizens, especially marginalised groups, to access welfare-enhancing services.

The World Bank statement made it clear that the funding coming through an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$115 million and co-financing of US$100 million from the French Agency for Development and US$215 million from the European Investment Bank would be used to fast track National identity Number (NIN) and other NIMC activities.

However, more than one month after, the recipient, the National  Commission (NIMC) is yet to give update to Nigerian on whether it had accessed the facility or not.

Business Hilights recalls that the Nigeria’s National Digital Identity Ecosystem Project (NDIEP) is focused on enhancing the national Identity system’s legal and technical safeguards to protect personal data and privacy.

Business Hilights recalls that in July 2018, the Director General of NIMC Aliyu  Abubakar Aziz had said that a new partnership sealed between the Commission and the World Bank on the funding of Nigeria’s identity registration scheme will kick off soon.

Then, Aziz said though the number of Nigerians and legal residents so far registered had climbed to 31million, the partnership between NIMC and the World Bank would further increase the figure.

DG of MINC, Engr Aliyu Aziz addressing journlaists on imports of NIN in Lagos in 2016. Photo: Business Hilights

He also assured that the partnership would also solve inadequate equipment issue being experienced by the commission.

Besides, though the DG in 2018 claimed that the commission had come up with Ecosystem Approach which gives room for all government agencies and players in the private sector to capture and register people and send the data to NIMC, there had been nothing up till March 2020 to show that the process worked as the agency had been handling the registration across its centres solely.

Again, the Commission had missed all its set targets of registering Nigerians in its National Identity Number (NIN) scheme which many government agencies have made compulsory for citizens seeking their services.

Whereas the compulsory need for NIN had lasted, fact checks have shown that the agency clearly lacks the capacity to capture Nigerians due to poor infrastructural facilities and even manpower in the last couple of years.

This failure made the JAMB to abruptly cancel the use of NIN for registering candidates for the 2020 examination.

It would be recalled that in a statement signed by the Commission’s General Manager, Operations/Corporate Communications, Abdulhamid Umar, NIMC confirmed that “The World Bank approved the six projects to support Nigeria’s development priorities focused on improving immunisation, providing an enabling business environment for private sector, expanding the digital economy to promote job creation and increasing capacity of public and private sector on governance, social and environmental safeguards.

“The World Bank is ramping up its support to Nigeria in its efforts to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty,” said Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.

“These projects are focused on delivering better services to Nigerian citizens. This means ensuring that children are immunised and sleep under mosquito net, improving rural mobility with better roads and providing citizens with a Unique Identification Number to be able to better target social safety nets,” he stated.

NIMC statement agreed that “Among the projects approved in the “programme of support in fiscal year 2020” is the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project.

Besides, another complementary statement by the World Bank explained that the Project “will support the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to increase the number of persons who have a National Identification Number (NIN) reaching about 150 million in the next couple of years.”

But more than one month of the fund’s approval, NIMC is yet to show any sign of access to the fund or in any way improved in its service delivery in growing the daily number of capturing registrants’ for NIN which had been made compulsory in accessing several government services.

Only last week, the Commission issued a press statement announcing closure of all NIN registration centres in view of COVID-19 precautionary measures.