Osun State recorded another first in the deployment of technology for administrative efficiency with the launch of Osun State civil servant smart identity card and biometric automation tagged: “I am Alive.”
The smart card launch, which is another first of its kind in the country, carries the data base of all civil servants in the state and will also serve as credit card, debit card and staff identification, carrying their profiles.
During the launch, the Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, in his speech, titled: “Identifying the Living,” said the civil servant smart card is to further intensify the state’s use of information technology for administrative efficiency.
Aregbesola said the introduction of the smart card will be highly beneficial to both government and the workers in the state.
According to the governor, the smart ID card is electronically personalised with biometric features to each of its users.
This, the governor stated, will add immense values to the activities of workers and will equally improve the capacity and cost of administration by government.
He said: “To be sure, it was through the application ICT to our tax administration and revenue collection that enabled us to increase our internally generated revenue by 100 per cent within the first few months of our administration.
“We have since intensified our effort to make ICT an inherent part of our public administrative system. The introduction of this new smart electronic identity card is another component of that overall effort.
“It will expectedly bring about many benefits to all of us; the individual civil servants and the government. It will be given to all workers across all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including Local Government Council workers.
“The smart ID card is electronically personalised, with biometric features, to each of its users. It will add immense values to the workaday functioning of workers and will equally improve the capacity and cost of administration by government.”
Identifying the numerous benefits of the smart card, Aregbesola revealed that the card will help eliminate many sources of financial waste and leakage employed to deprive government of needed funds as well as helps create an accurate and reliable database for payroll administration and salaries’ payment.
Besides, he averred that possibility of defrauding workers of the payments due to them is now difficult with the introduction of the card.
Again, through this smart card system, the workers can get their monies paid directly to their accounts instead of through any intermediary points.
Aregbesola continued: “Leave bonuses for example are now tied to each worker’s birthday and paid to their accounts automatically on that day.
“With this smart ID cards, there cannot be mistaking identity in the payment of monies due to the workers. In this system, identity is completely individualised and electronically personalised.
“For the pensioners, it removes the stress of going through multiple verification to get their payment and also blocks the means for cheating them out of their money.
“By clearly identifying the living from the dead, this system ensures that ghost will no longer mingle with our workers or have access to our payroll in Osun. It keeps them where they belong – in the grave. It stops the dead from coming to steal money from the living. It makes certain that only retirees who are ‘ALIVE’ receive payment. This affirms the sense in the project’s title, ‘I AM ALIVE’.”
One very interesting feature of this card is that it is linked to a credit or debit card and gives the owner access to his or her salary account, which he uses to withdraw up to 20 per cent of the salary with or without money in the account.
The smart card is a tripartite arrangement among the Osun State Government, Charms Plc and the First Bank Plc.
The governor also promised that by June this year, all school pupils from age one to six will have personalised card that contains all their bio data.
In his reaction, the Director of ICT in Osun State, Bambo Bashorun, said the smart card came at a time of security challenges and dwindling resources in the country.
Bashorun said that the issuance of the card will guarantee proper accountability and plug holes through which resources are wasted.
He said: “Creating a data base of all civil servants in the state is so important, especially at this time of our challenging national life from increased level of insecurity to dwindling resources.
“With the data base created, the ID card issued and I AM ALIVE process automated, the state had ensured that no single kobo is wrongly allocated to undeserved person in the state.”
In his own remark, the Group Managing Director of Charms, Ademola Aladekomo, said Osun State has broken another ground in the ICT word in Nigeria.
Aladekomo said the smart card will be given to all civil servants in the state.
According to him, the smart card can be used not only in Osun State but also within and outside Nigeria and anywhere in the world.
He noted that the card also carries the fingerprint of the card holder, with which he can identify him or herself.
For the representative of the Managing Director of First Bank Plc, Mutairu Akinfolarin, the idea of the card could only be a product of hard thinking.
Akinfolarin commended the governor for successfully pioneering of the card, saying First Bank is very proud to be part of Osun State’s technological success.