An advocacy firm, Inclusion for all Initiative has identified gaps, limiting Nigerians, especially the poor and the financially excluded from being captured in the SIM-NIN enrollment exercise.
According to the organization, in a report released recently, the vulnerable groups were mostly impacted by government’s restrictions on mobile phone users who have not linked their NIN to their SIM.
The report stated that these groups’ exclusion from NIN ecosystem was driven by a range of barriers such as lack of source documents such as birth certificates or a legal means of validating their age and personal data, poor access to enrolment centres, and other delimiting factors.
According to the report, “An initial deep-dive analysis of the 2020 Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) Access to Finance (A2F) survey showed that the poorer you are, the less likely you are to have a NIN.
“However, data indicates that 62% of financially excluded Nigerians owned, or had access to a mobile phone. This is exacerbated the poorer you get, with 77% of mobile phone users in the poorest percentile of society not enrolled in the national identity system.”
The organisation noted that preliminary findings suggest need for further research to confirm the impact of the restrictions, the demographic profile of those affected and how to mitigate that impact.
“This will guide recommendations to curb the disproportionate effect of the directive on these populations and inform an approach that is more inclusive. Furthermore, addressing this will help to ensure the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and NIMC achieve their digital inclusion objectives”, it stated.
Commenting, Head of the Inclusion for all initiative, Chinasa Collins-Ogbuo said, “Vulnerable populations are increasingly at risk of further exclusion even in the face of well-intentioned decisions by government, our role at Inclusion for all is to make sure these blindspots are identified and curbed early on.
“The NIN-SIM ban is one of such decisions; putting the groups we care about at risk of further exclusion from the formal economy, as their mobile phones, which is a tool to facilitate their formal inclusion and also a key enabler for their livelihood, is under threat. We know this is not an outcome that aligns with the government’s objectives.”
Collins-Ogbuo further called on multi stakeholder collaboration that will foster cross functional data sharing to guide on action steps at ensuring that all is captured in the digital ID enrolment process.