The Nigeria Identity Management Commission may get funding to replace its outdated infrastructure as its database nears full capacity, our correspondent has learnt.
During the press conference for the Digital Nigeria Day 2022, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, said he had obtained the approval of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), for the funds needed to replace NIMC’s archaic infrastructure.
He expressed optimism that the funds would be released in early 2023.
He said, “I obtained the approval of Mr President to replace their [NIMC’s] obsolete infrastructure, which we do hope will commence in early 2023.”
He further noted that there was a provision for this in the 2023 budget.
A check by our correspondent revealed that N36.76m has been allocated for the renewal of the maintenance support agreement for the National Identity Management System infrastructure in the 2023 proposed budget.
However, PUNCH observed that the 2023 allocation is far lesser than the N128.37m allocated in the 2022 passed budget.
In May 2022, during an interview on the Frontiers Show on the Nigerian Television Authority, the Director-General of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, had said that the commission’s database is at 80 per cent of its capacity with over 80 million unique NINs issued.
He added that the commission presently has the capacity to issue about three million NINs monthly but hopes to increase its capacity soon.
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Aziz said, “We built it (the database) to cater for a 100 million. Right now, we are at eighty million. Also, we have the government’s approval to upgrade it. So, before we reach there, we must have upgraded to about 250 million.
“So, we don’t have issues with that. Most of the time, our major challenges are either power or the bandwidth of the connectivity that we have but not the infrastructure.”
According to him, the goal of the commission is to enrol every Nigerian, but it lacks funding to implement upgrades.
He said that the NIMC got approval to upgrade its capacity in July 2021 but has yet to receive funding to the effect.
He added, “We are trying to upgrade the system. We have gotten the government’s approval since July last year. We are following up to get the funding. Funding is a challenge, but I don’t want to call it a challenge because it is a challenge for everyone.”
Further findings show that the commission currently has over 90.68 million unique NIN records as of October 25, 2022, suggesting the NIMC’s database may have reached over 90 per cent of its capacity.
In February 2020, it was reported that Nigeria’s digital identity ecosystem project, along with five others, had been approved by the World Bank.
The approved projects, valued at $2.2bn, were aimed at assisting the country to empower citizens, especially marginalised groups, to access welfare-enhancing services.
The national digital identity ecosystem project was designed to enhance the national Identity system’s legal and technical safeguards to protect personal data and privacy. ,
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