Monday 6 April, 2020

New agency to manage national ID system

Jacqueline Lynch Stewart

Jacqueline Lynch Stewart

The implementation of the National Identification System (NIDS) will be managed by a new agency, the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), the Office of the Prime Minister announced on Wednesday.

NIRA will replace the Registrar General Department (RGD) and will provide more enhanced services, the OPM said.

NIRA will issue one National Identification Number (NIN) per individual. This unique number will make it easier for agencies to distinguish between people with similar names.

Among the benefits of the NIDS is that it will offer solutions for the banking sector, said the OPM, noting that the current process of requiring various forms of references; and validating names and addresses by comparison through online databases is a tedious procedure for both the institution and the individual.

NIDS’ biometric data will also offer absolute verification for this purpose. A NIN will be particularly important in instances where persons complete paperwork using different names or nicknames instead of full names eg. John Doe and Johnathon Doe.

It will also be relevant when middle names are not consistently used eg. John Doe and John Paul Doe and where suffixes are not used consistently eg John Doe and John Doe Senior.

In other cases where people legally change their names, whether by marriage or deed poll, a financial institution may find instances of several combinations of names for the same person. A National Identification Number will help them determine if they are dealing with one person with a legal name change or multiple people with similar names.

“With NIDS, the financial sector will possess accurate and comprehensive data which may generate cross selling leads, a tactic which can offer greater financial benefits for businesses and individuals. Ultimately, financial institutions will use NINs to assemble data in order to open accounts, to better serve clients over time and to comply with Government regulations,” said Jacqueline Lynch Stewart, chief technical director in the Office of the Prime Minister.

The implementation of NIDS promises to mitigate against fraud and identity theft. Conversely, the OPM said it will protect and empower citizens to achieve greater financial and social inclusion. 

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