Federal Government Unveils Upgraded National ID Card Featuring Payment and Social Service Capabilities

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The Federal Government, in conjunction with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), is set to introduce an enhanced national identity card embedded with payment capabilities, catering to a wide array of social and financial services. Crafted through a collaborative effort with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), this pioneering card will harness the capabilities of AfriGO, a domestic card scheme.

Kayode Adegoke, the Head of Corporate Communications at NIMC, unveiled this development in a statement released on Friday.

This National ID card, fortified with verifiable national identity features, is underpinned by the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007, mandating NIMC to register and issue a General Multipurpose card (GMPC) to both Nigerians and legal residents.

According to NIMC, this innovation aims to meet the growing need for physical identification, allowing cardholders to validate their identity and gain access to both governmental and private social services. Furthermore, it will foster financial inclusion for marginalized Nigerians, empower citizens, and foster greater participation in nation-building endeavors.

NIMC emphasized that only individuals registered as citizens or legal residents possessing a National Identification Number (NIN) will qualify for card issuance.

“The card, which will be produced according to ICAO standards, is positioned as the country’s default national identity card. In addition to this functionality, cardholders will also be able to use the cards as debit or prepaid cards by linking same to bank accounts of their choice.

“The card shall enable eligible persons especially those financially excluded from social and financial services have access to multiple government interventions programs.

“In line with data protection regulation and public interest, NIMC remains committed to protecting cardholders’ personal data and will ensure compliance with international standards on data security protocols as security features that protect the confidentiality and safety of users’ information,” the statement read in part.

The card will boast several key features, including a Machine-readable Zone (MRZ) aligned with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards for e-passport data, as well as an Identity Card Issue Date and document number in adherence to ICAO norms. Additionally, it will incorporate various functionalities such as travel and health insurance information, microloans, agricultural support, food assistance, transportation benefits, energy subsidies, and more.

Moreover, the card will showcase Nigeria’s Quick Response Code (NQR) containing the individual’s national identification number, alongside biometric authentication elements like fingerprints and photographs, serving as the primary means for identity verification. It will also possess offline capability, enabling transactions in areas with limited network coverage or lacking infrastructure connectivity.

Furthermore, the card will function as both a debit and prepaid card, catering to the needs of both banked and unbanked individuals.

NIMC announced that the process for requesting cards will be accessible online, through commercial banks, various participating agencies or agents involved in multiple programs, or at any of its nationwide offices, ensuring widespread availability and convenience for registered citizens and legal residents.

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