Our correspondent understands that as its database nears full capacity, the Nigerian Identity Management Board may receive funding to replace its outdated infrastructure.

In a press conference on Digital Nigeria Day 2022, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, said that he has received approval from President Major General (retired) Muhammadu Buhari for the funding infrastructure needed to replace the NIMC’s outdated equipment.

He is optimistic that the funds will be released in early 2023.

He said: “I have the approval of Mr. President to replace their [NIMC’s] Outdated infrastructure, we hope to start in early 2023. “

He further noted that there is provision for this in the 2023 Budget.

Our correspondent inspection revealed that in the proposed 2023 budget, N36.76m has been allocated to update the maintenance support agreement for the national identity management system infrastructure.

However, PUNCH observed that the 2023 allocation is well below the N128.37m allocated in the budget passed in 2022.

In May 2022, in an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority’s Frontiers Show, NIMC Director General Aliyu Aziz had stated that the Commission’s database had reached 80% of its capacity with more than 80 million unique NINs issued.

He added that the committee currently has the capacity to issue around 3 million NINs per month, but hopes to increase its capacity soon.

Aziz said: “We built it (the database) to meet the needs of 100 million people. Now, we have 80 million. Also, we have government approval to upgrade it. So, before we get there, we Have to upgrade to about 250 million.

“So, we have no problem with that. Most of the time, our main challenge is either power or the bandwidth of the connection we have, not infrastructure.”

According to him, the committee aims to enroll all Nigerians but lacks funds to implement the upgrade.

He said NIMC had been approved to upgrade its production capacity in July 2021, but had not yet received the relevant funding.

He added: “We’re trying to upgrade the system. We’ve had government approval since July last year. We’re following up to get funding. Funding is a challenge, but I don’t want to call it a challenge because it’s a challenge for everyone. It’s a challenge.”

Further findings show that as of October 25, 2022, the Commission currently has over 90.68 million unique NIN records, suggesting that the NIMC’s database may have reached over 90% of its capacity.

In February 2020, it was reported that the Digital Identity Ecosystem Project in Nigeria, along with five other projects, had been approved by the World Bank.

The approved projects, valued at $2.2 billion, are designed to help the country empower citizens, especially marginalized groups, to access services that enhance welfare.

The National Digital Identity Ecosystem Project aims to strengthen the legal and technical safeguards of national identity systems to protect personal data and privacy.

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