Banking & FinanceBusinessNewsNigeriaPoliticsFG permits commercial banks to issue debit cards that double as national identity card

…approves the deployment of an automated system for NIN-SIM linkage

The National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, has partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to allow commercial banks to print and issue debit cards that also serves as national identity card.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, disclosed this on Wednesday.

Pantami said that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved a memo from the NIMC to that effect during Wednesday’s valedictory FEC meeting.

He explained that the development became imperative due to the growing demand for national identity cards notwithstanding that the NIMC Act 2007 only mandates Nigerians to have a National Identity Number, NIN, and not necessarily a card.

He said, “In the NIMC Act 2007, section 27, what is mandatory for our citizens and legal residents is the acquiring of the National Identity Number, not the card. However, the card is optional.

“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.”

According to the Minister, while applying for a debit card, Nigerians can now request for the multipurpose card at no extra cost than the normal fees charged for debit cards.

“So when you apply for a card at your bank, you can indicate that ‘I want this card to be multipurpose whereby it will serve as my bank card and also my national identity card,'” he said.

“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. Either Mastercard, Visa or any other kind of card.”

Similarly, Pantami revealed that the FEC also approved a memo by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, proposing the deployment of an automated system to integrate NINs with individual SIM cards.

The system, he said, is to consolidate the implementation of the NIN-SIM linkage and to “enhance the implementation of the policy and bring many more benefits to it.”

Pantami boasted that the automated system would sanitise the database and ease the process of SIM replacement for Nigerians or legal residents.

By Ezinwanne Onwuka (Senior Reporter)

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