Following the successful handling of the e-ID Card by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), the federal government has placed a ban on the printing of government documents outside the country, except in cases where the Nigeria Security Minting and Printing Company (NSMPC) confirms it cannot handle such jobs.
President Jonathan stated this on Thursday when he launched the new National Electronic Identity Card (e-ID card) Scheme in Abuja, just as he hinted that voters’ cards for subsequent elections in the country would be printed locally.
While lauding NIMC for successful handling of the exercise, the president said performance must be replicated in other similar vital sectors of the country, like the local printing of voter’s card.
He said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would henceforth not grant approval to any government agency to print any document abroad unless the NSMPC, also known as the Mint, cannot do it.
To this end, the President said he has ordered the new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, to immediately restructure the Mint to enable it perform the functions it must be saddled with.
He said, “The key thing is to strengthen our institutions and that is why I am happy with NIMC. NIMC almost went the way of Nigeria Airways, Nigeria Shipping Line and Ajaokuta; everything just died. Now NIMC is coming back.
“In fact, when I appointed the new Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, I told him that the Nigeria Security and Minting Company must be reformed. The board must look into management and get choice global players who are into this business to partner with them.
“There is no way we are doing local government election, electing House of Assembly members, electing governors in Oyo, Ekiti, Adamawa and all what we will produce will be done outside this country. Why?
“So, Mint must be restructured; and both INEC and other bodies too. For the Federal Executive Council, we cannot give approval for any printing whether passport or anything except Mint say they cannot produce that. As far as Mint can produce it, we must produce everything in this country.
“But then those who will use these services must have their credibility to protect, that means Mint must be in a position to tell INEC Chairman that ‘whatever I give you, the security devices are okay and you will get the result you want’.
He commended former President, Olusegun Obasanjo for signing into law the NIMC Act, from which evolved the e-ID card, describing it as a vital tool that will help the government appropriately plan welfare schemes and subsidise numerous social services for Nigerians.
“We must at the onset keep in mind that the journey to capture the populace, by issuing over 100 million cards has just begun.
“You should therefore ensure that the issuance process is prompt and swift enough to enable many more Nigerians obtain their own e-ID Cards, as soon as possible.
“The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, will oversee that funding requirements, as budgeted, will be met and matched with appropriate delivery by the commission.
“It is important to ensure that this e-ID Card issuance process proceeds smoothly and that all MDAs, and indeed the private sector, can benefit from its designed functionalities as soon as possible?,” he stated.