Chams Plc, an identity management and transaction payment company,
and First Bank of Nigeria have entered into strategic partnership with Osun State Government on the deployment of smart identity cards.
The cards are expected to enhance salary and pension payments to civil servants and retirees in the state. The biometric smart card will provide non-repudiable identification and authentication of civil servants and retirees in the state while also serving as credit or ATM cards, household utility pre-payment cards, among other functions.
Launching the smart identity card and the automated Osun Pensioner Verification exercise tagged, ‘I am alive’, the governor of the state, Rauf Aregbesola, said the introduction of the smart card would be beneficial to both government and the workers in the state.
He stated that the card would help to eliminate sources of financial waste and leakage being used by some dishonest workers to deprive government of needed funds, while also helping to block the possibility of defrauding workers of payments due to them.
“It was through the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to our tax administration and revenue collection that enabled us to increase our internally generated revenue by 100 per cent within the first few months of our administration. We have since intensified our effort to make ICT an inherent part of our public administrative system. The introduction of this new smart electronic identity card is another component of that overall effort," Aregbesola said.
According to him, it will expectedly bring about many benefits to the individual civil servants and the government.
“It will be given to all workers across all ministries, departments and agencies, including local government council workers. The smart identity card is electronic, and personalised with biometric features, to each of its users. It will add immense values to the functioning of workers and will equally improve the capacity and cost of administration by government,” he said.
Group Managing Director, Chams Plc, Ademola Aladekomo, said the launch of smart identity card for civil servants by the government was another first in the ICT ecosystem in Nigeria. He noted that the smart identity is multifunctional, and is more than an identity card because it has e-payment capabilities and can be used as debit or credit card by holders across the country, and anywhere in the world.
Aladekomo added that the utilisation of information and communication technology to improve service delivery in the public sector in Nigeria would make governance inclusive, bringing it closer to the people.
“Inclusive governance and the use of technology to reduce the high incidence of fraud and wastage often associated with the public sector will further catalyse the growth and development of our national economy,” Aladekomo said.
According to him, globally, governments are investing in meeting the identity management needs at city, state and regional levels.
“Because it provides exceptional opportunity to cut capital and recurrent administrative costs, while also protecting citizens such as pensioners by making it difficult for dishonest persons to steal their benefits," he said.
He said it is a welcome development that Osun is at the forefront of heralding access to improved public services through information and communication technology.
The representative of the Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mutairu Akinfolarin, said the idea of the card was a product of good thinking. He commended the governor for successfully pioneering the card, saying the bank is very proud to be part of Osun technology success.