Aliyu Aziz, the director-general of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has emphasised the need for Nigeria to double its effort at ensuring that more Nigerians have access to affordable and reliable connectivity, particularly in the rural areas.
This, according to Aziz, is necessary because e-identity, connectivity, and financial inclusion are crucial in driving sustainable growth and development in the digital age.
The NIMC director-general spoke recently at the CIO Club Africa summit with the theme, “digital economy and the nexus between e-identity, connectivity, and financial inclusion.”
He said at the heart of this nexus is the need for a reliable and secure e-identity system that can serve as the foundation for digital transactions and financial services.
“Nigeria’s efforts in this area are commendable, with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) working to provide every Nigerian with a unique National Identification Number (NIN) and a digital identity card. This will enable citizens to access a range of services, including financial services, securely and conveniently”, he said.
Aziz said the digital economy relied on high-speed internet access and reliable connectivity to function effectively.
He, however, said that Nigeria has made significant progress in expanding broadband access, with initiatives such as the National Broadband Plan and the licensing of new broadband providers.
He also explained that financial inclusion is another critical component of the digital economy, as it allows individuals and businesses to participate fully in the economy and access a range of financial services. According to him, Nigeria has also made impressive strides in this area, with initiatives such as the Bank Verification Number (BVN) system, mobile banking, and the cashless policy. “These initiatives have helped to increase financial inclusion and reduce the number of unbanked individuals in the country”.
The NIMC director stressed that the nexus between e-identity, connectivity, and financial inclusion is a powerful force for driving sustainable growth and development and it has the potential to transform the lives of millions of Nigerians by providing them with access to essential services, promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, and driving economic growth.
“This is part of the reason why ICT has become the mainstay of the National economy with over 18 Percent contribution to the GDP in the Q2 of 2022 compared to the contribution of the oil sector which was 6. 33 percent during the same period,” he said.