PRESS RELEASE

Jamaica to invest US$68mn on ID system

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

By Jamaica Information Service

January 10, 2019

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The total budget for implementation of the National Identification System (NIDS) is US$68 million, says Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.

He said that approximately 20 per cent of the amount is for the NIDS solution, which is the software required to deliver identity management services.

Mr. Holness was responding to questions posed by Opposition Spokesman on Science and Technology, Julian Robison.

The NIDS project is being funded through an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)/Government of Jamaica Loan Agreement.

Mr. Holness said that the majority of the funds budgeted for NIDS will be utilised for the broader modernisation and digitisation of Government and improvement of the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure.

This, he said, includes the establishment of the National Identification and Registration Authority, including the transformation of the Registrar General's Department (RGD) and the new Civil Registry System to link birth, marriages and death records; re-engineering of business processes; development of the digital identity management procedure; and implementation of these structures and processes over five years.

"That budget will be somewhere in the region of US$9.9 million. Then there is the digitisation of the RGD's paper-based records, and that would happen over a period of five years. They have actually started the digitisation of records, so they should be able to generate some records using a digital format. That is estimated to be US$3.5 million," Mr. Holness said.

"There will be mobile stations for bedside registration and NIDS outreach, and they plan to spend some US$72,000 to do that over five years. We will have to build 43 enrollment sites... that is for US$4.3 million; then there is the establishment of a card production facility, and that will enable us to produce cards in a centralised way, and that is US$8 million," he added.

Another US$2.4 million, which is approximately US$480,000 annually over five years, has been budgeted for the public relations (PR), communications and behavioural change programme.

"The total funds expended for the publication of radio, television and print advertisements from June to December 11, 2018 is US$42,614.42," he said, noting that the IDB, through the South Korean Government Poverty Reduction Fund, provided technical assistance during the development of the NIDS PR and Marketing Plan.

Mr. Holness informed the House that all PR and communications activities are being managed by the NIDS team.

"So they have found ways to ensure that they can deliver high-quality service at [reasonable] cost in terms of the delivery of the service. They have not contracted out for any public relations firm in that regard," he noted.

The Prime Minister said that all funds spent on the NIDS project must meet the highest standards of accountability and probity.