The Federal Government has announced that Nigerians can now request their commercial banks to issue them a debit card that also serves as their National Identity Card at no extra cost.
This approval was obtained during the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, revealed that the approval came after a memo from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) allowing banks to print multipurpose debit cards that double as national identity cards.
He explained, “It is going to be a form of multipurpose card where it will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other hand, either Mastercard, Visa, or any other kind of card.”
Although the NIMC Act 2007 mandates Nigerians to have a National Identity Number (NIN) and not necessarily a physical card, there has been a demand for cards, particularly from citizens living in rural communities.
To address this, NIMC introduced a smart ID card that can be downloaded from the NIMC app. However, this option has become difficult for people in rural areas.
To make it easier, NIMC has partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria, allowing interested citizens to go to their respective banks to request the multipurpose card.
Pantami emphasized that there would be no additional costs for citizens.
He stated, “So when you apply for a card at your bank, you can indicate that ‘I want this card to be multiple purpose 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.”
Furthermore, the FEC approved a proposal for an automated system to integrate NINs with individual SIM cards.
This system aims to consolidate the implementation of the NIN-SIM linkage.
Pantami explained, “The Nigerian Communications Commission came up with a proposal that will enhance the implementation of the policy and bring many more benefits to it.”
The automated system will sanitize the database and streamline the process of SIM replacement for Nigerians and legal residents.
In addition to these developments, the FEC also approved multi-billion naira contracts to enhance power supply in various parts of the country.
Abubakar Aliyu, the Minister of Power, disclosed that the contracts include the implementation of transmission and distribution lines, as well as the construction of a solar PV power plant.
These decisions by the Federal Government aim to facilitate access to essential services, improve identification systems, and enhance the country’s power infrastructure.