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MasterCard, eight banks set for national ID project

By on August 28, 2013

With preparations now at its peak for the National Identity Number (NIN) project piloted by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), technology provider to the project, MasterCard, recently restated its commitment to accelerating the process.

The pilot phase is expected to provide at the initial stage, 13 million MasterCard-branded National Identity Smart Cards with electronic payment capability.

The project has Access Bank Plc as pilot issuer bank for the cards, and Unified Payment Services Limited (Unified Payments) as the payment processor. Other issuing banks include United Bank for Africa, Union Bank, Zenith, Skye Bank, Unity Bank, Stanbic IBTC, First Bank and others currently signing on.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, MasterCard’s Vice President and Area Business Head, West Africa, Omokehinde Ojomuyide said the involvement of the company was to ensure the cards are well secured and globally acceptable, adding that “MasterCard is also saddled with the responsibility of deepening financial inclusion and promoting the cash-less initiatives.”

Ojomuyide, while denying allegations that MasterCard cornered the entire contract, said the company decided to base its operations in the country, given the strategic importance of the country in the continents numerous opportunities for business and growth.

According to her, the institution has identified with the country’s financial inclusion and cash-less initiative, which seek to reduce the number of the unbanked and reduce the costs associated with cash transactions.

She said MasterCard’s experience for over 40 years of its existence would be brought to bear on the provision of services that will ensure the country financial system’s aspirations, by making payments simple, safe and smart.

The cash-less initiative, she added, is a forward-looking scheme, saying that presently, the cost of cash-based economy is between 0.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product of various economies.

According to her, the sources of the costs include printing and distribution, security and handling, lost time associated with queuing to withdraw cash.

The West African’s Area Business Head for MasterCard, assured that the card will be issued before the end of the year, noting that corruption, which is the issue in many economies today are facilitated by cash-based regime. Robbery, terrorism financing, kidnapping, she lamented, are all products of huge cash transactions, as complicates every efforts to trace the sources.

The company’s services and product offerings to governments, Ojomuyide said, include social security payments system, procurements, payrolls and revenue receipts, which are strategic for economic growth and development.



[Daily Independent]