• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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41 million NIN enrolment gap pushes World Bank to extend $430m facility

NIMC-NIN registration

Nigeria failed to meet its National Identification Number (NIN) enrollment target of 148 million by June 2024. As a result, the World Bank has extended a $430 million facility for the project until 2026.

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) reported that as of May, the total number of NIN enrollments was 107.34 million, leaving a shortfall of 40.66 million. NIMC has not yet disclosed the latest registration figures.

The World Bank, in a document titled ‘Restructuring Paper on a Proposed Project Restructuring of Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project Approved on February 18, 2020, to the Federal Republic of Nigeria,’ stated that it is extending the deadline for the project, which it rated as moderately satisfactory.

The Nigeria Digital Identification for Development project was approved by the Board of Executive Directors of the International Development Association (IDA) in 2023, and the associated Financing Agreement (FA), signed in February 2021, became effective on December 14, 2021.

The project objective aimed to increase the number of persons with a national ID number with $430 million in total financing (with $115 million of which the IDA, $100 million equivalent from the French Development Agency (AFD), and US$215 million equivalent from the European Investment Bank (EIB)).

The World Bank predicts that 85 per cent of the population will be covered by NIN by 2027, with digital ID serving as a foundational element of the digital economy. As of June 2024, the project disbursement rate stood at 37.37 per cent, with delays attributed to critical disbursement conditions for nationwide NIN enrollment.

Nigeria has now met two of these three conditions: the enactment of the data protection law in June 2023 and the acceptability of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) in March 2024. The final condition, the amendment of the NIMC Act to promote an inclusive and nondiscriminatory legal and regulatory framework, is pending with the National Assembly and is expected to be enacted by September 2024.

The World Bank noted, “From the outset, the project faced 22 months of implementation delays, primarily due to (i) longer than anticipated time needed to meet effectiveness conditions and to secure the National Assembly’s approval of borrowing plan; (ii) constraints associated to disbursement conditions hinging on the enactment of the data protection law…”

The Washington-based bank also stated that it extended the deadline because both the co-financers (AFD and EIB) indicated they would cancel their financing if the World Bank was no longer the lead financier and implementer of this project. “It is critical that the World Bank extend the closing date of the project to allow continuity across all co-financers, avoid any disruptions to the good progress made so far, and safeguard the positive impact it has had on Nigeria’s digital identity infrastructure,” it explained.

The global bank highlighted that NIMC is expanding its capacity to store 250 million NIN (with the Nigerian population now estimated at 210 million), up from its current capacity of 80 million. This update is expected by March 2025. The World Bank added that the framework extension would require an adjustment of the results framework to reflect changes to realign with government priorities while remaining in line with its project objectives.

In April, NIMC announced that it was expanding its capacity to 250 million records from 100 million records. Abisoye Coker-Odusote, chief executive officer of NIMC, stated, “We wanted to ensure that we deliver the best-in-class solution to our fellow Nigerians, and the pure power of the biometric matching we will receive ensures that the solution is future-proof for our growing population.”

According to the World Bank, the implementation delays have stalled key activities under component 2 (establishing a robust and inclusive foundational ID system), which aims to enhance the National Identity Management System (NIMS) ‘s resilience, security, and reliability.

NIMC has faced criticism for data breaches, and the commission recently listed five websites that Nigerians should avoid. NIN enrollment has slowed below the Government’s plan of 2.5 million per month.

In its National Development Plan 2021-2025, the Federal Government disclosed its plan to enrol 100 million Nigerians in three years.