16 March 2008

Kenya: New ID Card On the Way

Nairobi — A new national identity card is set to be launched by the government, the Sunday Nation has established.

An ID card applicant records his fingerprints with a registration official for processing of the document. Photo/FILE

The move to have the new ID card, which comes with more complicated features, was initiated two weeks ago by the Ministry for Immigration and Registration of Persons and will see the current, 13 year-old second generation ID phased out by 2010.

The new document will be part of an Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS) that will develop a Central Database for purposes of data sharing by state agencies such as those handling registration of births and deaths, identity cards, passports, elections, tax, the National Social Security Fund, National Hospital Insurance Fund and aliens registration.

Additional biodata to feature in the new document and which are missing in the current ID include a Personal Identification Number, marital status, residential address and occupation

A tender for consultancy services for the third-generation identity card is due to be opened on March 27, 2008.

Although no figure has been placed on the contract, the government is expected to spend an estimated Sh2 billion in issuing the new document.

The proposed features in the identity card are similar to those contained in the British card that is due to be rolled out next year and would cost sterling pounds 40 (Sh5,400) each.

The Permanent Secretary for Immigration and Registration of Persons, Mr Emmanuel Kisombe told Sunday Nation that the formulation of the ID's features would be left to the consultant to be picked by the National Registration Bureau.

The PS said the Bureau had already prepared a concept paper which would guide those bidding for the consultancy services.

According to National Registration Bureau deputy director Henry Karanga, the second-generation identity card should have been phased out three years ago in accordance with international standards.

Among other glaring shortcomings, the technology used to produce the current identity card has become obsolete while the biodata captured was too basic.

Already the National Registration Bureau has generated a concept paper and written a memorandum to the cabinet seeking approval for launch of the new document.

Kenya is the only country in East Africa to have an identity card dating back to the days of the British rule.

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