Saturday, February 21, 2009

National Smart Cards to Be Issued This Year in Rwanda

Beginning this year, all Rwandans will be able to access and coordinate various services automatically using the new smart card electronic system. This was announced last week by Pascal Nyamulinda, the coordinator of the National ID Project in an interview at his offices in Kimihurura.

"These cards will be multi-purpose. The services offered will include, identification, access to insurance services, bank services and immigration services among others. In this case one will not need to carry many cards to access various services," he said.

A British company, De La Rue, globally known for its security systems is working on this project as it did for the national identity project. The production of the cards has already started and they are expected be ready by the end of the year. "As we integrate the services, we will start with institutions that use electronic systems in their operations. So far only the immigration and emigration department are set for this," he added.

Citing an example of the immigration and emigration department, Nyamulinda pointed out that this move will enable all institutions involved to offer services quickly as it will be easy to identify citizens with reference to the national data base.

Acquiring this card does not necessitate double registration since all biometric data in which a digital picture, electric finger print and signature were captured at the production of national identity cards.

According to Nyamulinda over 95 percent of the population, including those in the Diaspora, has already acquired national identity card the remaining 5 percent are mainly include soldiers, students, policemen, prisoners or people who move a lot.

"Others also offered inconsistent data, for example some registered as 20 year olds yet they actually look 70. Some pictures were also quite unclear but we are certain that by April this year every Rwandan will have acquired their identity cards," he adds.

He added that registration will be a continuous process, saying that each year, over 200,000 people turn 16, an age at which a citizen is eligible to obtain national identification; implying that every Rwandan at that age should register. Over 4.7million cards have been produced against a set target of 5.1million cards.

(Source: The New Times)