US$68 million NIDS loan approved by the IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a US$68 million loan (just under Ja$9 billion) to the Government of Jamaica for the design and implementation of the now controversial National Identification System (NIDS), along with some level of upgrading of the technological platform across the public service.
The IDB made the announcement of the loan approval in a release on its official website on Friday.
It cited that the system is expected to cut transaction costs and facilitate services in Jamaica.
The bank also said Jamaica will have a reliable identification system that will make it easier and cheaper for citizens and legal residents to prove their identities for a variety of transactions, from opening bank accounts to getting social services from Government agencies.
The new system was further said to be geared at reducing transactional costs on identity verification, which should help cut bureaucracy and improve the delivery of Government services.
Other benefits were cited as easier access to birth certificates, especially for mothers and persons with special needs.
The project is also expected to strengthen the civil registry, enhance the ability for the public and private sector to introduce identity verification.
“Having a personal identity is a universal right, but proving it can be a challenge,” said Therese Turner-Jones, the IDB representative in Jamaica, in the release.
“With the National Identification System, Jamaicans will be spared the ordeal of providing multiple documents to obtain even the simplest of Government services. It will replace a patchwork system that is prone to fraud, with an advanced, technologically-safe system that is in keeping with the highest international standards.”
Turner-Jones noted that the NIDS’ legal framework and its implementing legislation limits the Government’s access to personal data, and offered protection of individuals’ privacy rights.
She said the loan from the IDB will also cover the necessary systems to ensure the safeguarding of personal information.