Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) will issue MasterCard-branded identity cards with electronic payments functionality to 13 million Nigerians.
This initiative is the largest rollout of a biometric-based verification card with an electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion program in Africa.
The eID card forms a key component of the Nigerian Identity Management System, deployed by NIMC as part of its mandate to create, maintain and operate the country’s first central National Identity Database and provide proof of identity to Nigerians 16 years and older.
With 13 applications, including MasterCard’s prepaid payment technology and Cryptovision’s biometric identification technology, the eID card will provide millions of Nigerians – the majority of whom have never had access to a banking product – with the security, convenience and reliability of electronic payments.
At a celebratory event held in Abuja, yesterday, President Goodluck Jonathan said: “I am happy that this important milestone of the rollout of the National Identity Management System has been realized today. I am impressed with the quality of the eID card and the work of the corporate partners that made it possible. I commend especially MasterCard, and Access Bank Plc, as well as the Commission [NIMC] for achieving a world-class product.”
He said the card builds a window to a social security benefit system and therefore, it is a card every Nigerian should get.
NIMC is working with several government agencies to integrate and harmonize all identity databases including the Driver’s License, Voter Registration, Health Insurance, Tax, SIM and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) into a single, shared services platform.
“The National eID program enables us to create an optimized common platform for Nigerian citizens to easily interact with the various government agencies and to transact electronically,” says Director General and CEO of NIMC, Barr Chris E. Onyemenam.
“There are many use cases for the card, including the potential to use it as an international travel document, which will have significant implications for border control in Nigeria and West Africa.”
“In close collaboration with both the public and private sectors to achieve the full potential of this program, NIMC is focused on inclusive citizenship, more effective governance, and the creation of a cashless economy, all of which will stimulate economic growth, investment and trade,” he adds.
Through the collaborative efforts of NIMC (the project lead), MasterCard (payments technology provider), Unified Payment Services Limited (payments processor), Cryptovision (Public Key Infrastructure and Trust Services Provider), and pilot issuing banks including Access Bank Plc, 13 million Nigerians will gain access to state-of-art financial services as part of the pilot program.
“This is a memorable occasion for MasterCard as we witness the start of a financial inclusion program that is unprecedented in scale and scope,” says Daniel Monehin, Division President of Sub-Saharan Africa, MasterCard.
“Combining an identity card with MasterCard’s prepaid payment capability creates a game changer as it breaks down one of the most significant barriers to financial inclusion – proof of identity – while simultaneously enabling Nigerians to access the global economy.”
He said the broader economic impact of the card will be felt as the previously unbanked and under-banked are able to gain access to the mainstream economy, and the visibility of their assets allows them to build a financial history and establish credit-worthiness with financial institutions.
Using the card as a payment tool, Nigerians can deposit funds, receive social benefits, save, or engage in many other financial transactions that are facilitated by electronic payments with the extra security assurance that biometric verification provides.
They can also pay for goods and services and withdraw cash at millions of merchants and ATMS that accept MasterCard payment cards in Nigeria and in more than 210 countries and territories globally. MasterCard has unsurpassed merchant acceptance; no other brand is more widely accepted.
The card also has the added safety and security benefits offered by the EMV Chip and Pin standard.
Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc Herbert Wigwe, said: “Access Bank is a supporter and promoter of innovative ideas that would improve the quality of lives of Nigerians. This initiative provides another opportunity to highlight our commitment to national development and nation building.
“To receive the eID card, Nigerians aged 16 and above need to register at one of the hundreds of NIMC enrolment centres nationwide. The enrolment process involves the recording of an individual’s demographic data and biometric data (capture of 10 fingerprints, facial picture and Iris) to authenticate the cardholder and ensure that there are no duplicates on the system. Upon registration, NIMC issues each Nigerian with a unique National Identification Number (NIN), followed by the national eID card.
“Upon completion of the pilot program, NIMC plans to introduce more than 100 million cards to Nigeria’s 167 million citizens.
“By supporting the Nigerian Government in the implementation of a world-class and innovative electronic payments program, we are helping them to reduce the costs of cash to the economy and society, improve efficiencies and prevent fraud and corruption. More importantly, we are opening up a world of financial inclusion to millions of Nigerians and improving lives,” says Monehin.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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