Nigeria Developing Africa’s Largest Identity Database   – Vice President Osinbajo

Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, Nigeria
Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, Nigeria

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has revealed that the Federal Government is developing Africa’s largest identity data-base with its on-going digital identification of all citizens and legal residents on a harmonized platform.

The Vice President made this disclosure while delivering the keynote address at the “Technology As A Catalyst Conference” held in Lagos.

Speaking further, Prof. Osinbajo said:  “From the enhanced ability to provide accurate analytic data for FinTech services, to content delivery services to individuals directly on the assurance of credible credentials, but perhaps more importantly, planning on human development education healthcare, and jobs for a population that will be the third largest in the world by 2050.”

He added that “a key deliverable of the Digital Identity Project is to develop updated international standard cybersecurity, data privacy and confidentiality policies to prepare us for the expected challenges that will come as part of a digital economy.”

Understanding the importance of a data-driven economy, Prof. Osinbajo said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has directed huge investments and focus to digitizing government data.

He disclosed that the Federal Executive Council has approved the “E-government Master Plan”, while the NITDA, in collaboration with Galaxy Backbone, has commenced the implementation of the interoperability framework that will provide a shared platform for the use of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The government, realising that only real players in the technology space would be useful in policy formulation given the complexities of the sector, established the Technology and Creativity Advisory Group, comprising relevant regulatory agencies and industry players, he said.

Prof. Osinbajo commended private industry leaders saying they deserve the “Most Valuable Player” award adding that the public sector on its part has been able to score points over the last two years through the implementation of technology-driven solutions.  He pointed out that platforms needed to power the initiatives of the public sector have originated from our private sector partners.

He expressed joy that Nigerian corporations have been willing to dream big and to lead Nigeria’s technological revolution.

He also appreciated Nigeria’s private sector innovators through whose efforts, living in Nigeria is increasingly becoming tech-based.

Listing some of their innovations, he said: “On our smartphones, we can search for apartments, perform bank transactions, book a taxi, order food, buy clothes, invest in a joint farming venture, monitor traffic, book a flight, while learning an indigenous language.”

The Vice President noted that the theme of this year’s TAAC Conference: “Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria” could not be more appropriate as both the public and private sectors have a role to play in driving economic development.

 Government, he said, realized that collaboration of the public and private sectors was key and as a result, established the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) as a forum where the public and private sector could work together with the objective of removing delays and restrictions that come with doing business in Nigeria and making the country a place where you can start, sustain, and grow a business.

Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal and some State governments have been able to reduce operational cost, reduce corruption, and revitalize participation and investment in numerous sectors of the economy through adaptation to technology, the Vice President said.

Citing the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), he said the agency has successfully and seamlessly automated majority of its services and processes; resulting in a reduction in time for filing Corporate Income Taxes from 14 days to 72hrs.

He noted that through the adaptation and used of technological innovations, MDAs have been able to go the extra mile in fulfilling their duties, achieve more at reduced time.

In July 2016, Nigerian inaugurated the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) as government’s flagship initiative to reform the business environment. The PEBEC is chaired by President Yemi Osinbajo and is also to attract investment and diversify the economy to reduce the nation’s reliance on oil.