In an effort to ensure that synergy and effective ministry supervisory mechanism is put in place to coordinate, monitor and track the progress of Federal Government’s digital transformation initiatives, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the transfer of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
The approval for the transfer was based on the President’s consideration for the critical role of NIMC towards the realisation of the objectives of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria (NDEPS).
A statement by the Spokesman to the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Uwa Sulaimon, on the issue stated that, “furthermore, Mr President’s directives for NIMC to be under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is an illustration of Mr President’s vote of confidence on Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, based on an unprecedented performance. He has, within his first year in office, amongst others, resolved the ICT sector’s decade-long dilemma of Right of Way charges. He was also able to secure Mr President’s approval for the provision of security as well as designation of Telecommunications Infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure, regularization of improperly registered SIM cards and deactivation of unregistered ones, the deployment of over 250 digital projects across the country under his policies and supervision as well as built the capacity of over 36,000 Nigerians”.
It would be recalled that NIMC is mandated to create, manage, maintain and operate the National Identity Database established by the NIMC Act, 2007.In an effort to realise this, the Commission has so far registered around 41 million eligible enrollees for the National Identity Number (NIN). The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the other hand has details of over 191 million mobile subscribers.
Furthermore, the National Information Technology Development Agency has recorded huge successes in the development and implementation of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), the country’s first codified data protection regulation. The Agency has also reached an advanced stage on the implementation of the National Public Key Infrastructure (NPKI). Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBB) also provides services to Government Agencies – Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service. The need therefore for NIMC, NCC, NITDA and GBB to work closely together under the supervision of one Ministry towards harnessing what has already been achieved cannot be overemphasized.
The NIN, considered as a social security as well as civil number, is very important for economic planning and social intervention. With Federal Government’s digitalization initiatives in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, access to services and interventions will require it. We therefore urge all eligible individuals to enroll as soon as possible. Furthermore, the Honourable Minister is assuring Nigerians as well as residents that appropriate measures will be put in place to ensure that opportunities for enrolment are provided to all.