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Buhari approves transfer of NIMC to Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the Transfer of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy

The transfer is part of an effort to ensure that synergy and effective ministry supervisory mechanism is put in place to coordinate, monitor and track the progress of the Federal Government’s digital transformation initiatives.

The disclosure was made in a press statement from the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy on Monday, August 31, 2020, and signed by Uwa Suleiman, the spokesperson to the Minister 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 realization of the objectives of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria (NDEPS).

The statement also says that the President’s directives for NIMC to be under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is an illustration of President’s vote of confidence on the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, based on an unprecedented performance.

Part of the statement reads, ‘’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.’

The NIMC was set up to create, manage, maintain and operate the National Identity Database established by the NIMC Act, 2007. In an effort to realize this, the Commission has so far registered around 41 million eligible enrollees for the National Identity Number (NIN).

The statement recognizes that the need for NIMC and some agencies under the supervision of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy like the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBB) and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to work closely together towards harnessing what has already been achieved cannot be overemphasized.

The NCC has details of over 191 million mobile subscribers. In addition, the NITDA 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). GBB also provides services to Government Agencies – Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service.

The NIN, considered as social security as well as the 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.

The statement urges all eligible individuals to enrol as soon as possible, just as the 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.

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