Nigeria embarks on digital identification of citizens

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Osinbajo unfolds plans for digital identification of citizens

By Chijioke Okoronkwo

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved e-government Master Plan which includes Digital Identity Project, one of the harmonised identification of all citizens.

The identification platform is the largest database in Africa and only second in the world to the Aadhaar of India, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said

Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Indian government to every individual resident of India.

Mr. Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, quoted Osinbajo as saying at the “Technology As A Catalyst Conference (TAAC)’’, held in Lagos.

The vice president said the project would open a lot of opportunities in different sectors in Nigeria.

“From the enhanced ability to provide accurate analytic data for FinTech services, to content delivery services to individuals directly on the assurance of credible credentials, but perhaps more importantly, planning on human development education healthcare, and jobs for a population that will be the third largest in the world by 2050.

“A key deliverable of the Digital Identity Project is to develop updated international standard cybersecurity, data privacy and confidentiality policies to prepare us for the expected challenges that will come as part of a digital economy.”

Osinbajo said that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari understood the importance of a data-driven economy and had directed huge investments and focus to digitising government data.

He said that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in collaboration with Galaxy Backbone, had commenced implementation of the interoperability framework that would provide a shared platform for the use of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“I have no doubt the many proponents of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be excited about the immense data that will be available.”

The vice president said the fundamental pillar of the Buhari administration’s economic plan was the lead role the private sector must play in business and commerce and the need to involve the sector in policy formulation.

“We realised that only real players in the technology space would be useful in policy formulation given the complexities of the sector, hence the establishment of the Technology and Creativity Advisory Group, which has the relevant regulatory agencies and industry players.

“While the public sector has been able to score points over the last two years through the implementation of technology-driven solutions, the award for the “Most Valuable Player” must go to our private industry leaders.”

He said the technology industry had been Nigeria’s highest increasing employer and the most improved economy contributor.

“Nigerian corporations have been willing to dream big, to lead Nigeria’s technological revolution.

“The fact is that platforms needed to power the initiatives of the public sector have originated from our private sector partners.

“Thanks to Nigeria’s private sector innovators, living in Nigeria is increasingly becoming tech-based.

“On our smartphones, we can search for apartments, perform bank transactions, book a taxi, order food, buy clothes, invest in a joint farming venture, monitor traffic, book a flight, while learning an indigenous language,” he said.

Osinbajo noted that the focus of this year’s TAAC Conference on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria could not be more appropriate because both the public and private sectors have a role to play in driving economic development.

In his remark, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said the private sector in Nigeria was willing to work with government, adding that the conference would be an avenue to cement the relationship between government and businesses.

Also speaking, the Secretary of Presidential Enabling Business Environment (PEBEC), Dr Jumoke Oduwole, said government at all levels would collaborate more with the private sector to work harder and faster to increase productivity.

She said leveraging on the power of innovation and creativity would get Nigeria to that desired place.

Earlier, Mr Osaro Eghobamien, who spoke on behalf of the organisers, said they would take the deliberations at the conference, monitor them and hold government accountable for what it said.(NAN)

CJ/AFA


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