FG Directs Banks To Issue Multipurpose ATM Cards That Serve As National Identity
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, said banks have received the approval to print multipurpose debit cards that will serve as the national identity cards.
The approval was made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He said a memo from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has been sent to banks signalling approval to print multipurpose debit cards.
The NIMC Act of 2007 mandates Nigerians to have an NIN but the minister explained that the number is not necessarily a printed card.
The minister, however, said that the demands for cards have increased especially among rural dwellers.
Pantami said, “It is going to be a form of the multipurpose card where it will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other hand, either Mastercard, Visa, or any other kind of card.
“As it is in the NIMC Act 2007, Section 27, what is mandatory for our citizens and legal residents is the acquisition of the National Identity Number, not the card. However, the card is optional.
“But many citizens, particularly those living in rural communities, always go to NIMC offices complaining that they need the card at hand, even though it’s optional.
“To make it easier, NIMC last year introduced a smart ID card you can download from the NIMC app. It is just a smart card. You don’t need to have it physically, but that is becoming difficult for our people living in rural communities.”
Pantami said NIMC had partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria for its regulatory approval.
He said Nigerian banks are permitted to print the card along with either a Mastercard or Visa card.
He added, “It is going to be a form of a multipurpose card that will serve as your national identity card on one hand and also your bank card on the other. And based on the agreement, it is without any additional cost to our citizens.
“So, when you apply for a card at your bank, you can indicate that ‘I want this card to serve multiple purposes where it will serve as my bank card and also my national identity card’. Both of them are going to be printed on the same card, and it is going to serve the same purposes without any additional costs.”