The Nigerian government has awarded a contract for the manufacture, management and distribution of biometric identity cards Interswitch, the in-country partner of Swedish biometrics company Precise Biometrics. Similar to a program of ID cards rolled out in Afghanistan, the cards will be linked to a fingerprint stored on the card to reduce fraudulent usage.
The contract will equate to the issue of 50-60 million identity cards over a six year period. The cards will operate as identity cards, government benefits cards and bank cards, allowing the government in Abuja to track the affairs of millions of previously “unbanked” Nigerians who operated outside of the formal banking sector.
Precise Biometrics CEO Thomas Marschall said of the project’s attraction:
“We expect substantial income from this project in the coming years, including fingerprint readers once more cards have been deployed. We have agreed with our partner not to disclose specific values, but the income from the project will naturally be reflected in our regular financial reporting.”
The company is also looking to stimulate demand for fingerprint storing ID cards and attendant fingerprint readers within Nigerian state governments. The Match-on-Card system is already used with the US State Department and Thai national ID card scheme.