…Approves 25bn for infrastructure upgrade

By Emmanuel Elebeke

The federal government on Thursday announced a new condition of service and salary scale for staff of the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC in Abuja.

The NIMC Condition of Service is a comprehensive document that, going forward, would serve, as the machinery through which the Commission articulates and implements its personnel policies and programmes.

The two approved documents increased with over 200% the total NIMC personnel cost, a significant departure from what is currently obtainable.

Presenting the approved document to the NIMC director general and chairman of the board, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami said the actualization of  the new service condition and salary scale for NIMC personnel  was attained through persistence, determination and most importantly, the support of President Mohammadu Buhari.

According to him, the actualization of this all-important document came after series of meetings with the President, Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, the Minister of Finance, and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation amongst others.

‘‘One of the major challenges I came across in the supervision of the NIMC was the poor working condition of the staff. Since the inception of NIMC in 2007, multiple attempts have been made to change the narrative of the staff  emoluments without success.  The process towards achieving a functional condition of service for the Commission has been a long and daunting task that commenced since 2010.

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‘‘Successive administrations have made efforts to institute a statutory personnel policy that accentuates the NIMC’s enormous mandate and humongous service offering to the Nigerian people. These previous attempts, although strong-willed, were unsuccessful, leading to disenchantment amongst the Commission’s work force and loss of competent and highly skilled personnel to other agencies and organizations within and outside Nigeria (to countries such as Eritrea, United Kingdom and Canada),’’ he said.

‘‘Following the completion of transfer of the supervision of NIMC to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in October 2020, it became my responsibility to oversee and supervise the affairs of the Commission. My first task was to undertake a due diligence and a review process of the NIMC’s Human Capital needs and Technical Audit to ascertain their progress as well as challenges.

‘‘I compared the NIMC Personnel Policy with what we have in other parastatals under the Communications and Digital Economy Ministry and found out NIMC has the poorest Staff remuneration scheme with a highly sensitive mandate to deliver. Thus, the staff renumeration existing then was not commensurate to the work delivery expected from the Commission.

‘‘As you all may be aware, NIMC issues foundation identity, and at the foundation  of a digitized economy is the critical role that Digital Identity plays which drives innovation in Banking, e-Commerce, Security, Governance, and Healthcare  amongst others. For an evolving digital economy like ours, foundational identity will provide a universal multipurpose system capable of supporting the needs for an inclusive legal identity to ensure citizen’s access to social services and effective undertaking of their civic responsibilities,’’ he added.

The minister also expressed gratitude to the Federal Executive Council for approving a N25 billion infrastructure upgrade fund for NIMC. When deployed, he said the Commission would be transformed from its obsolete state to a global champion.

He then charged the Governing Board and Management of NIMC to ensure the judicious utilization of the approved funds as it is released in phases, saying that nothing short of that would be acceptable.

 ‘‘The NIMC plays a critical role that impacts the life of every Nigerian, and for persons legally resident in the country. In light of the foregoing, it is imperative that the vibrant NIMC staff who are tasked with managing one of the nation’s most sensitive and critical asset are provided with the enabling environment to play this pivotal role efficiently and effectively.

‘‘Council Approval for upgrade and replacement of the NIMC Identity Infrastructure, and the implementation of novel initiatives that has increased the registration of persons to over 62 million on the NIDB. The Governing Board and Management of NIMC must ensure the judicious utilization of the approved funds as it is released in phases.

‘‘It was Challenging rallying all and sundry to understand the exigency of the NIMC plight, and to bring everyone on-board considering the economic contractions witnessed in recent years, and of course, other pressing national projects contending for the available but lean resources.’’

He then charged the staff of the Commission to take the advantage of the newly approved Condition of Service and the Salary Scale to serve as a veritable tool to re-engineer the operations, structure, and enhance NIMC’s overall functionality, productivity, and performance in line with the Nigeria Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

He also implored all staff to ensure diligence, security consciousness and dedication for the seamless operation and integrity of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) and also encouraged the staff and management of the commission to work harder and shun all kinds of corrupt practices.

Earlier in his address, the Director General of the Commission, Engr. Aliyu Aziz thanked the Minister and the President for the prompt intervention on the condition of service of the staff of his agency and promised that it would boost their morale to deliver on their mandate.

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