Wed | Jul 17, 2019

NIDS could save billions, says government official

Published:Wednesday | November 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/ Gleaner Writer

The National Identification System (NIDS) will be a major tool for curbing cybercrime, according to Richard Delapenha of the Office of the Prime Minister.

"In Jamaica, there was a study done some time ago and it says that we lose up to $64 billion annually due to corruption, fraud and identity theft. If we can implement a system that can reduce this significantly, I am sure that we can look at higher pay for our health-sector workers," he told participants at a recent National Health Research Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

"We want to move Jamaica into a digital economy," he explained, pointing out that this would result in significant savings in time as well. "So if the Government can create a digital online platform where services are reoffered, you can see where we are moving towards a more productive society."

The Registrar General's Department (RGD), which does civil registries - births, deaths and marriages - is one of the key state agencies that will undergo radical transformation to facilitate the NIDS roll-out.




Delapenha explained: "The RGD will be transformed into a new entity and that will be called the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and with this transformation, you will have it taking on a new component called identity management and that is the component NIDS will come under. NIRA will be the ones managing NIDS and we are looking at two years for this authority to be established. A part of the NIDS budget is to ensure that the records at RGD are digitised. So NIDS is not only just an ID, but it will also facilitate these records at RGD."

NIDS, which will be free to all Jamaican citizens and residents, will be a unique, verifiable cradle-to-grave nine-digit composition.

Delapenha further explained: "So when children are born, that is when they get a nine-digit number. When we enrol, that is when we will get our number and our card. However, our children will get their first card at (age) six. Reason being, at that age, their biometrics, their features are somewhat developed and we will be able to take some level of biometrics at that point."