FG directs commercial banks to issue multipurpose debit Cards that Serve as national identity
May 25, 2023156 views0 comments
By Business A.M.
The federal government has directed commercial banks to print and issue multipurpose debit cards that will double as national identity cards for Nigerians.
Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, disclosed this to newsmen after the Federal Executive Council meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja
Pantami stated that the approval followed a memo from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC),allowing banks to print multipurpose debit cards that will serve as a national identity card on one hand and also a bank card on the other hand. He added that the Nigerian banks are permitted to print the card along with either a Mastercard or Visa card.
According to Pantami, although the NIMC Act 2007 only mandates Nigerians to have a National Identity Number and not necessarily a printout card, demands for cards have increased significantly nonetheless.
The minister noted that 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 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,” he observed.
Pantami said NIMC had partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria for its regulatory approval,adding that Nigerian banks are permitted to print the card along with either a Mastercard or Visa card.
Speaking on the privacy and confidentiality of card users, he noted that NIMC and the CBN signed a nondisclosure agreement to protect the privacy and confidentiality of card applicants.
He added, “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 cost to our citizens.
“So, when you apply for a card at your bank, you can indicate that ‘I want this card to serve multiple purposes where it will serve as my bank card and also my national identity card’. Both of them are going to be printed on the same card, and it is going to serve the same purposes without any additional costs.”
Pantami further stated that, when a person requests for the card, the bank will need to connect to the NIMC through their database to ensure the person’s details in tandem with the record in the NIMC database. Then, the card will be printed immediately for the user.