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SENATOR ANYIM PIUS ANYIM, GCON, AT THE WORKSHOP ON THE GUIDELINES FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE ON THE ALIGNMENT OF DATA CAPTURE, VERIFICATION AND AUTHENTICATION ACTIVITIES IN GOVERNMNET MINISTRIES, DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES UNDER THE HARMONISATION AND INTEGRATION IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE (HIIC) OF THE NATIONAL IDENTITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (NIMS) ON TUESDAY 22 JULY, 2014 AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA.
I am delighted to welcome you all to this workshop on the guidelines for the implementation of a very important Presidential directive. That directive mandates the alignment of data capture, verification and authentication activities in Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies under the Harmonization and Integration Implementation Committee (HIIC) of the National Identity Management System (NIMS). I am also very happy with the representation of all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and that representatives of the Private Sector assembled here today. I am therefore hopeful that there will be in-depth, technical and robust output to shape the implementation of this Presidential directive; and so that it will have the desired impact on transformation agenda of this Administration.
2. I commend the Board and Management of NIMC for its efforts at ensuring that MDAs comply with Government’s policy by hosting this workshop. The impressive turn out itself- consisting of most MDAs, signifies the critical role a harmonized identity management system will play for the socio-economic development and improved security of the country. It is my hope, that this turnout will assure the realization of the key objectives of this workshop.
3. The integration of diverse data capture process and seemingly ubiquitous databases in MDAs is an idea whose time is overdue. Deploying a seamless system of identity data capture and its management in a unique manner has become a national challenge. Therefore, it must be addressed properly. Indeed until recently, the establishment, management and multiplication of identity databases by different Government Agencies, was a welcome idea; because, they served the purpose of managing a particular demography unique to these MDAs. However, over time, these databases have become overlapping and burdensome to government.
4. In a changing world, systems evolve every day. With sophisticated modern technology and a competitive global environment, Nigeria, as a global player, has no choice but to use Identity Management as a reliable tool of accelerating socio economic development.
5. When His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, on October 17, 2013, gave the directive that all eligible Nigerians should be enrolled before 31st December 2014, he meant it. I enjoin you all, to do all that you can, to ensure compliance by that date. Let me stress that in doing so, we must also ensure the complete elimination of duplicated processes and further wastages of resources. Government investment should be consolidated in the most optimal manner by that deadline.
6. The Circular that has brought you all together here became necessary to clear all doubts regarding the intent of the Presidential Directive of October 17, 2013. We are here to ensure that thus intent is clearly understood and adhered to by all MDAs. There should be no doubt any more about this. I enjoin you all to make this harmonization work. You are to focus on those things that will enable, not on the issues which disable- the process of harmonization and integration.
7. I urge you all to streamline, integrate, consolidate, switch over and let NIMC become what Government expects it to be; namely the lead agency for identity database, identity authentication and verification for Nigeria. I expect you all to bench mark against global standards in data capture, transmission network security, processing, management and storage, data uniqueness, retrieval updating and secure accessing for use by all MDAs. From this process, there should be a single version of truth on all personal information in the National Identity Database (NIDB) which all MDAs can rely upon. The future of such a universal infrastructure lies in the collaborative effort of all of you. Its sustainability is a function of how well you achieve this objective and release resources for other competing uses that will help sustain it.
8. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
9. It is on this premise therefore, that I am pleased to convey the support and goodwill of His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; to all the MDAs here present. He demands that you all take up the challenge of giving Nigerian a world class identity management infrastructure, which will be pivotal to the security and socio-economic transformation of the country. He appreciates your spirit of teamwork, of inter-agency information gathering and sharing which this NIMS infrastructure will be leveraged upon.
10. I want to also commend the Board, Management and Staff of the NIMC for their perseverance and focus. You need these qualities to build a world class institution and national identity infrastructure with a sophisticate local content strategy. I want you to strive even harder for global recognition and to unleash your huge potential for generating economic and employment opportunities.
11. Let me conclude with a note of emphasis. This workshop is not for you to analyze why the policy can’t work or why more tie is needed. It is not for you to justify the need for your MDAs to have its own separate process or database. Far from all these, the workshop is for you to quickly determine how your MDA can help achieve the objective of streamlining activities of MDAs in Identity Management to optimize the use of scarce government resources and establish a single secure, reliable, accessible and scalable NIMS.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is my singular honor and pleasure to declare this workshop open. I thank you all and wish you fruitful deliberation.
God bless you, God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, GCON
Secretary to the Government of the Federation
Tuesday, July 22, 2014.