The Government of Jamaica is designing and developing a National Identification System (NIDS), that will provide a comprehensive and secure structure to enable the capture and storage of personal identity information for citizens and persons ordinarily resident in Jamaica. The NIDS will become the primary source for identity assurance and verification and will result in improved governance and management of social, economic and security programmes.
What is NIDS?
The National Identification System, called NIDS, is a unique, reliable and secure way of verifying an individual’s identity. It will establish a reliable database of all Jamaican citizens and will involve the issuance of a unique lifelong National Identification Number to every person. In the long term, the NIN may be used alongside a multipurpose card, or be uploaded onto smartphones. The use of biometric (fingerprint or retina) scan is also being explored.
Why a NIDS?
At present, Jamaica does not have a central national database with the accompanying systems to support secure, reliable identity verification and authentication. The various systems issue different numbers based on the diverse standards and are not necessarily able to connect and share information with each other due to logistical or legal barriers. Therefore, individuals can assume multiple identities.
What are the objectives of NIDS?
- To establish a reliable database of Jamaican citizens and other individuals ordinarily resident in Jamaica, with a unique National Identification Number (NIN) as the primary key identifier of a person in the system.
- To enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of Government entities, management and delivery of Government services to the public; to include programme benefits such as the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), the National Health Fund (NHF), welfare, E-government (with the use of the NIN, creating the linkages between entities and providing the following services: Citizen to Government C2G, Government to Government G2G services, Government to Business G2B services and Government to Citizen G2c services) among others.
- To facilitate the growth and development of commerce and economic activity through the provision of a platform of greater security and integrity for public partnerships
- To enhance the Government’s ability to secure compliance with critical obligations to the state to include tax collection, among others
- Strengthening of immigration, border control management, public safety and national security
What are the benefits of NIDS?
- Reduce the need to register for each benefit and/or obligation – e.g. Payment of property taxes or receiving PATH benefits. This will, among other things, simplify the government’s processes and eliminate costs incurred from paper purchases and other administrative tasks.
- Assist in the fight against crime by providing the relevant authorities access to a secure database which captures civil and biometric data of citizens and residents in Jamaica.
- Minimize the capacity for an individual to assume multiple identities which has contributed to illegal activities such as money laundering, tax evasion, and credit card fraud.
Will there be new or amended legislation?
New legislation and regulations related to identity management, verification and data sharing will be enacted. The legislation will ensure the protection of personal data. All existing laws related to identity management and storage will be reviewed and amended f deemed necessary. Data Sharing Agreements will be established among government entities.
How will NIDS be financed?
The initial design and development of NIDS is funded by a Technical Co-operation Grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through the Korean Poverty Reduction Fund in the amount of USD670,000 with GOJ counterpart funding of USD120,000.
The Technical Co-operation Agreement which will last for 24 months was signed in September 2011. The Grant will finance the following technical consultancies:
- Develop the Legal Framework
- Design the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Architecture
- Develop the Communication and Behaviour Change Strategy
- Develop the Institutional Framework
- Conduct an Economic Assessment (Cost Benefit Analysis) and Audit
Who are the key facilitating Government entities?
- Fiscal Services Limited
- Registrar General’s Department
- Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency
- Electoral Office of Jamaica
- National Insurance Scheme
For further Information:
Contact the NIDS Project Team
National Registration Unit
National Identification System (NIDS) Project
Office of the Prime Minister
1 Devon Road, Kingston 10
Jamaica, West Indies