The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the management of United Bank for Africa (UBA) have entered into an agreement to push the frontiers of financial inclusion in Nigeria by integrating the UBA network with the payment applet on the national electronic identity card (e-ID) issued to eligible Nigerians by NIMC.
The Director General of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz during an interactive media session with journalists in Lagos on Saturday, August 5, said that the interface between NIMC’s backend technology and the payment server of UBA would be activated by August 15 when it is expected to be operational. He also said that the pilot scheme for the payment applet which featured the partnership with MasterCard would be extended to other operators like Verve and Visa once the migration to the data processing for personalization has been concluded.
When the virtual payment collaboration with UBA is activated, money can then be loaded on the e-ID for ATM and PoS transactions among others, Aziz said. With the current configuration, he said that the virtual account is limited to a maximum of N50, 000 that can be loaded on the e-ID card. However, he said that efforts are ongoing to review the amount upward as a result of the current talks with the government for the remittances of salaries via the e-ID card. He said that the upward review has become imperative because some workers’ salaries are beyond the N50, 000 thresholds.
The integrated payment applet which is one of the 16 applets on the e-ID was pioneered with the initial collaboration with Access Bank as the single operator. With the migration to the multiple operator platforms, Aziz said that NIMC had entered into partnership with UBA and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB). According to him, the collaboration is aimed to fast-track the enrolment of eligible citizens.
Aziz said that the “NIN also enhances access to credit from financial institutions, protects citizens from identity theft thereby being an antidote to identity theft driven frauds, it expands access to other financial services including insurance, it enhances e-commerce by providing a means of payment, it is a tool for non-repudiation and security for financial transactions and it facilitates financial inclusion and hence cashless economy”. And in collaboration with NIMC, he said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has mandated the Money Deposit Banks to accept NIN as the valid means of identification of bank customers.
NIMC was established by the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007, as an offshoot of the Department of National Civic Registration (DNCR), to create, establish and maintain a unique national identity database, register persons covered by the Act, assign a unique National Identity Number (NIN), provide authentication platform for identity verification, issue General Multi-Purpose Cards (GMPC) and harmonise and integrate existing databases in Nigeria.
Addressing the journalists at NIMC Lagos office, he said that the embedded chip on the GMPC is 80 kilobytes compared to the 4 kilobytes on the conventional ATM cards currently in circulation in Nigeria. He said that the enhanced capability of the GMPC makes it a multipurpose national e-ID with features for virtual payments, insurance, voter, health insurance, SIM, land registry, driver license, immigration and other biometric verification and authentication functions.
He said that NIMC had received numerous awards for the cutting edge technology being used for the management of the national biometric database for citizens’ registration. He said as well that South Africa officials had recently approached the leadership of NIMC to learn more about the integrated payment applet in the national e-ID card deployed by the Commission.