Thursday, 2 June 2011

Delay in Issuance of National Identity Card

Without the National Identity Card, one cannot engage in any official transaction. Consequently, delay in issuance of the national identity card is adversely affecting many people especially the youth.
The delay in the issuance of national identity card by the ministry of Immigration and Registration of Persons is making life difficult for those who applied and are still waiting. Some have waited as long as 7 months and are still waiting. When an explanation was sought from the ministry officials, they said that the contract awarded to the company which provided the services was terminated. The ministry is in the verge of finding another contractor to produce new generation identity cards.
New Generation IDs
The existing old generations IDs are simply designed to verify someone’s identity just by physically looking at it. The proposed new generation IDs are said to have Radio-Frequency Identification Chip (RFID Chip) which will be read by use of a card reader, a device which reads biographic information, the digital photo and fingerprints. It allows an official to check details against the person presenting the card. The proposals currently under consideration could potentially see ID cards used to perform new tasks-such as authorizing online transactions using chip and PIN and verifying the holder’s identify over the internet. This will come in handy as the government has invested in Information Communication Technology (ICT), e-government. Individuals will be able to carry out some transactions over the internet without necessarily visiting government offices. In addition to that, the new generation will be able to capture the county residence of a given individual due to the enactment of the new constitution. About a week ago, the cabinet approved provision of 2 million old generation ID temporarily to ease the overwhelming demand but the long wait is not yet over.
A national identity card is usually required almost in all official transactions and without it one can hardly do anything. For instance, many youths have been forced to let go job opportunities which otherwise they have qualified for just because they don’t have a national ID. Some on the other hand have not been able to enroll in institutions of higher learning since they can’t be categorized as either international or local student. Those who have business ambitions have been constrained to shelve them till they get the IDs. They require the ID in acquiring business license, opening bank account or even applying for loan. In other cases one cannot buy high value assets such as land, vehicle or a house.
Lack of national ID can bring one’s life into a stand still. The new generation identity card is a brilliant idea and it should be hastened. Meanwhile the production of the approved 2 million IDs should be done urgently.