Zambia implements biometric ID registration system
Zambian has started to implement its Integrated National Registration Information System (INRIS), a national identity management system with enhanced biometric digital security features for national registration cards, as well as birth and death certificates.
Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Jack Mwiimbu said the development of INRIS has been completed, hardware connectivity set up and the system has been successfully deployed in ten districts across the country.
According to Mwiimbu the manual system failed to respond to demands arising from continued growth of the population and rapid changes in technology. This caused issues like duplication of national registration card numbers, identity fraud and challenges in record management.
The Minister said, “In 1965, the country started the issuance of national registration cards to citizens aged 16 years and above using a manual and paper based system. Since then, the manual and paper based system has not changed despite it being susceptible to fraud and other abuses. The manual based system lacks the mechanisms to prevent foreigners from registering as Zambians, especially in border areas.Registration officers depend solely on affidavits to register a person. The INRIS, however, will assign a national identity number at birth as opposed to when a person is 16 years old. This will make it very difficult for an ineligible person to register as a Zambian citizen.”
He said the integrated national registration information system will also provide wider services beyond the issuance of biometric enabled digital national identity cards and civil registration.
The government said biometric-enabled digital national identity would strengthen social services administration by preventing ‘double dipping’ and ineligible beneficiaries.