…Promises brand new NIMC
By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami says he is committed to driving the ongoing national identity enrolment exercise to a successful end because Digital ID remains the key to Nigerian development.
And to realize the objective, he promised to make sure the Commission succeeds in delivering on its mandate.
The Minister made the pledge on Tuesday when the management of NIMC paid him a thank you visit led by the Acting Chairman of the Board, Mallam Bello Ibrahim in his office.
Pantami said he will stop at nothing in ensuring that NIMC under his watch becomes a brand new agency with enhanced infrastructure and quality of service.
‘‘I consider this thank you visit as an encouragement to do more. We need to do more for NIMC and our country. I consider the President’s directive as a vote of confidence on me. He said we must get this national identity right because we cannot continue to live in a country where we estimate our population. There is need for us to do that.
He has directed me to supervise and harmonize NIMC processes and it is because of this I consider it as a presidential responsibility, that he is so interested in the success of NIMC. I assure you I will not fail delivering his directive on NIMC because digital or foundational ID is the key to whatever we will do in our country.
‘‘If you go to developed countries we emulate, you will discover that they all do that. If we have it, it will help in our national planning, education, health, agriculture.’’
The Minster while encouraging the Board to sit properly and drive the Commission, he promised to address all the challenges facing the Commission for improved service delivery.
‘‘You must sit properly and drive the Commission because your responsibility is a very huge one.
I believe NIMC has so many challenges, we have addressed some of them, addressing others and we plan to address many others in the future. On the issue of welfare of staff, I can say that we are not yet there but we are certainly on top of it.
‘‘I took the matter to the finance Minister and also to National Assembly that is why we now have improvement in the NIMC budget of 2021.
‘‘I think in the last 4 or 6 years, NIMC had not had anything like that in its budget, we got it done despite the COVID-19. To address the issue more elaborately with the President and he directed me to formalize the challenges and I have done that and submitted the letter to President with reference with the challenges of infrastructure and staff welfare.’’
On infrastructure, the Minister also promised to improve on the existing one in place, describing it as very key to realization of NIMC mandate.
“We will continue to work harder and make sure that the infrastructure of NIMC is enhanced and improved significantly so that all of us will be proud of the brand new NIMC’’, he added.
Earlier in his address, Mallam Ibrahim told the Minister that they were in his office to enlists his support to help resolve and find solution to the lingering challenges facing NIMC as a Commission and also convey their unreserved appreciation of what he has been doing since the transfer of the supervision of the activities of NIMC to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
Ibrahim, who praised the Minister for his innovative leadership, noted that the giant strides recorded in the ICT sector so far were direct result of his focused and committed leadership.
‘‘The strategic policy directions of the federal government in ICT being championed by your good self, such as the national Policy on Digital identity for Internally Displaced persons, National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria (NDPS); the Nigerian Digital Identification for Development (IDAD), amongst others, bear testament to your unwavering commitment to the Nigerian people and the aspirations for an effective and efficient digital economy.’’
He also said that, ‘‘the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage exercise as another project that speaks volumes of the Minister’s unflinching resolves to sanitize and harmonize the silos of databases in the country.
He however, thanked the Minister for bringing to the front-burner and attention of federal government the issue of welfare of NIMC staff, describing it as unprecedented.
He specifically listed actualization and implementation of an enhanced salary structure for staff of the Commission commensurate to government agencies in the same IT sector and provision and release of funds to address the huge infrastructural requirements of the Commission.
The meeting was the first meeting between the Minister and the NIMC board since President Buhari placed NIMC under the supervision of the ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.