The Federal Government has advised Nigerians that henceforth, it has approved for the commercial banks to issue debit cards to its customers that will serve as account debit cards and National Identity Cards all in one at no cost. This was made known yesterday by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, during a Federal Executive Council, FEC Meeting. The meeting was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari which was held at the state House, Abuja.
Buhari said, the approval was in response to a memo originated from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) which seeks commercial banks to print a multipurpose debit card that will serve as the National Identity Card at the same time.
The Minister said, “It is going to be a form of the multipurpose card where it will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other hand, either Mastercard, Visa or any other kind of card.”
Although, he explained that the Act 2007 establishing NIMC mandate Nigerians to own identity numbers not necessarily on a hard drive like a card, however, demand from the general public has pushed his office to issue such.
“But many citizens, particularly those living in rural communities, always go to NIMC offices complaining that they need the card at hand, even though it’s optional.
“To make it easier, NIMC last year, we introduced a smart ID card you can download from the NIMC app. It is just a smart card. You don’t need to have it physically, but that is becoming difficult for our people living in rural communities.”
Nigerians over the years have been struggling to acquire the National Identity card from NIMC offices around the country which were proving difficult.
This has made the NIMC partner with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, so that interested Nigerians can approach their banks for the issuance of the card.
Pantami further explained that ”It is going to be a form of a multipurpose card that will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other. And based on the agreement, it is without any additional costs to our citizens.
“So when you apply for a card at your bank, you can indicate that ‘I want this card to be multiple-purpose where it will serve as my bank card and also my national identity card’.
Both pieces of information are going to be carried by the same card and going to be issued void of additional cost the minister explained.
NIMC and the CBN signed a nondisclosure agreement to protect the privacy and confidentiality of card applicants.
He revealed is going to work such that “When you apply for the card, the bank will apply online to NIMC through their database.
”When they verify and confirm that your record in the database is in alignment with your record in the NIMC database, it will be permitted and the card is going to be printed for you immediately,” the minister added.
The Minister also stated that FEC has also approved a memo proposing the deployment of an automated system to integrate NINs with individual SIM cards.
The system, he noted, would consolidate the implementation of the NIN-SIM linkage.
He said “As we all know that previous administrations made efforts to verify NIN and SIM starting from 2011 without success.
”In February 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the implementation of the policy, and the revised version of the policy was also launched and unveiled by Mr President on May 6, 2021.
“As it stands today, the NIN and SIM policy registration is being implemented, In order to consolidate the implementation.
The Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, set the proposal for the policy to enhance service implementation and to bring its services closer to people.
The minister said the automated system would sanitize the database and ease the process of SIM replacement for Nigerians or legal residents.