- The President said the registration exercise would verify the actual number of government employees including civil servants.
- Besides reducing transaction costs for Kenyans, the new exercise will significantly reduce cases of identity theft and make financial and property transactions more secure.
Kenya on Tuesday joined the league of developed countries like the US, Europe, the United Arabs Emirates, India and Australia when it launched the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS).
President Uhuru Kenyatta led the exercise by signing for his own Huduma Namba and flagging off distribution of NIIMS registration kits to all the 47 counties.
He rolled out the project at Masii Public Grounds in Machakos County while opposition leaders Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula oversaw the exercise in Mombasa, Murang’a and Kajiado in a historic demonstration of national unity and common purpose.
NIIMs, also dubbed Huduma Namba, will use integrated data systems to manage citizens’ information.
The project seeks to identify all Kenyan residents through a unique primary identifier.
Opposition leaders trooped to three other launch sites to witness the rollout of the 45-day registration drive, which they hailed as an important exercise.
President Kenyatta said the exercise would not only transform civil registration and data management in the country but also tame corruption and fast-track implementation of the Big Four development agenda.
“Huduma Namba will reduce delays and corruption in the delivery of services such as cash transfers for elderly persons and vulnerable children, issuance of passports and border control,” he said.
He added: “NIIMS will facilitate faster and more effective implementation of the Big Four agenda.”
The President said the registration exercise would verify the actual number of government employees including civil servants.
He said an audit of the Kenya Police Service undertaken last year unearthed about 5,000 ghost officers who were receiving a monthly salary totalling Sh148 million.
President Kenyatta said NIIMS aims to establish and maintain a master digital national population register that will serve as the only source of identification for everybody resident in Kenya.
“It will integrate personal and functional data that is scattered in many government agencies into one single identity,” said the President, adding that the number will be used at all stages of one’s life from birth to death.
NIIMS is used to save biometric (fingerprints and facials), demographic and physical details of Kenyans and registered foreigners, an exercise that also aims at enhancing national security.
The Huduma Namba will not invalidate other national registration processes like signing up for identity cards, National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), National Social Security Fund (NSSF), birth and death certificates or the personal identification number. Instead, it will harmonise them.
NIIMS will assist in issuing persons residing in Kenya with a primary identifier that will consolidate the other registration numbers in one digital wallet. The other numbers will become secondary identifiers.
The Huduma Namba is aimed at enhancing the speed and efficiency of service delivery to residents of Kenya.
Calling on Kenyans to take advantage of the next 45 days to register, President Kenyatta enumerated the reasons the government is undertaking the exercise.
"The need for accurate data as a key enabler for national planning, issuance of birth and death certificates and associated rights of nationality, schooling, passport and property ownership are all valid reasons for the registration," said the President.
He said biometric identification and registration of farmers will facilitate fairer allocation of subsidised farm inputs, including seeds and fertilisers.
“It will also improve accountability and transparency in the management of NSSF and inform planning, investment and allocation of affordable housing units,” the President said.
He said the exercise would also facilitate and monitor capitation in schools, adding that Kenyans will no longer be required to carry multiple IDs, and pensioners and widows will receive their dues with ease.
Besides reducing transaction costs for Kenyans, he said, the new exercise will significantly reduce cases of identity theft and make financial and property transactions more secure.
President Kenyatta said a bill is being drafted to address concerns raised by Kenyans about security of the NIIMS data.