Jamaica and Pakistan seek to facilitate cash assistance programs with digital ID

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the country needs to speed up the implementation of its National Identification System (NIDS) to give a good number of citizens easy access to various cash assistance programs. In Pakistan, Sindh provincial authorities plan to roll out a social intervention program that will enable women to receive cash assistance using the biometric-based Benazir card, while national digital ID projects in Bhutan and the Philippines report progress.

Memorandum of Understanding for an Identity Verification Pilot Project in Jamaica

Jamaica recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with financial institutions for a pilot project on the identity verification and authentication services component of the national digital ID.

The move comes amid reports that thousands of Jamaicans have yet to receive their share of COVID-19 welfare funds through the COVID Employee Resource Allowance (CARE) as they cannot prove their identity, reports The Gleaner.

The government said in April that around J$300 million ($1.95 million) was still outstanding from applicants, although J$17 billion ($111 million) had been paid to 500 000 beneficiaries.

Speaking on the issue at the MoU signing ceremony, Prime Minister Holness regretted that this would not have happened had the country been further along in implementing the NIDS.

According to the Prime Minister, the NIDS will provide the country with an identification system that will enable the digital transfer of cash resources and will also solve the problem of elderly people queuing at post offices to collect pension payments.

Spending seems more forthcoming on biometric voting systems with recent contracts with Thales for voter identification and with Pangea for the management of its voter register.

Sindh partners with federal government to fight poverty, Bhutan goes digital

The Sindh government is partnering with the Federal Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Security to spearhead social support initiatives that will distribute cash transfers, scholarships, nutrition and vaccines to poor women and children using the Benazir map, Pakistan Observer reports.

Authorities say all women eligible for the program will be notified by text message specifying where they can withdraw their money, and they will only be able to do so through biometric verification.

The aim of the program is to help the poor and less privileged by reducing their socio-economic vulnerability, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said while he also disclosed that negotiations with the Bank for support of $200 million over the next five years were well on the way.

Pakistan announced this week that it had issued one million Afghan refugees with a biometric identity card to access services.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Bhutan also announced the launch of its National Digital Identity (NDI) program, for which a biometric capture campaign was announced last October.

According to the Lhuentse Region Local Government website, the launch of the program coincided with the birthday of Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen – the Queen of Bhutan. The program runs nationwide and with the support of Desung National Services.

The country is implementing the digital ID program to enable citizens to access a wide range of digital services.

PhilSys numbers rise

The Philippines’ latest update adds some 6 million to the 60.4 million enrollees who, as of mid-March, had completed Stage 2 biometric enrollment for the national digital ID, PhilSys.

An announcement by the government agency Philippine News Agency says that more than 72% of the targeted 92 million people have registered and more than 8 million Filipinos have received their first bank account. Over 11.5 million PhilID cards have been issued to date.

Article topics

Bhutan | biometric identification | biometrics | digital identification | financial services | government services | identity management | Jamaica | national identity card | pakistan | Philippines | social Security

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