For smooth execution of some of its mandates, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has appealed to Nigerian banks to provide financial support for the two concessionaires the commission engaged to serve as the Front End Partners (FEPs) to the project.
It would be recalled that NIMC had engaged two consortia, Chams and Onesecurecard in July 2010 to handle the project.
Mr Chris Onyemenam, Director-General, NIMC, who made this call at the second International Conference on Due Diligence organised by the Committee of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria (CCCOBIN), lamented that after 15 months of signing the agreement, the consortia have been unable to raise the necessary funds to execute their mandates.
He explained that the concessionaires are entitled during the concession period to manage and operate the concession assets and collect and retain such proportion of the revenues that accrues from the use of the data acquired by the concessionaire and stored in the National Identity Database (NID) for personal identity verification services as parties may from time to time agree, and such other authorised business as may from time to time be specified by the grantor and subject to the terms and conditions of this agreement.
Concessionaires are, among others, expected to render services such as provision of data capture, personalisation, issuance and distribution of General Multipurpose Cards (GMPC), deployment of card acceptances devices (CADs), and for the related services and operations as part of the front-end component of the national identity management system and infrastructure upgrade in Nigeria. With this clear service arrangement, Onyemenam said he was disappointed that the banks are not ready to transact business with the concessionaires.
“But ironically, when the Federal Government approved N30 billion for our activities in the 2012 budget, the banks wanted us to open accounts with them. But my message for them is we will only do business with you if you do business with our concessionaires.”
When prodded about the political risks involved in doing business with the concessionaires, he said: “What could better explain the political commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to the scheme than the appropriation of N30 billion for the project in 2012 budget? In spite of the challenges, Onyemenam said NIMC will commence registration and issuance of National Identity Number (NIN) in May 2012 in order to create the first national database.
To achieve a seamless identity system in the country, he said the commission will integrate all existing database System. “NIMC will harmonise data from existing government agencies including INEC, NCC, SIM registration, FRSC, FIRS-TIN, land registries, pension/insurance NHIS and credit bureau to create the first integrated system in the history of Nigeria”.
Onyemenem said access to the database will be secure and democratised since NIMC will provide real-time online and offline access to the National identity information to allow individuals, businesses, organisations and governments to confirm the identity of any Nigerian and Nigerian residents.
NIMC has the mandate to establish and maintain a unique national identity database in Nigeria, register persons covered by the Act that established the commission, assign a unique NIN to all adults in Nigeria, harmonize and integrate existing identification databases in the country and issue GMPC.