Workshop highlights Digital Programme in South Pacific

Azaria Fareen

The Fijian Government is working closely with the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise in streamlining many government services and expecting to roll out a National Identification Card (ID) by October 2021.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted this while opening a regional workshop on the ‘Use Cases for Digital ID in the Pacific’ in Suva recently.

The Workshop, which focused on how Pacific Island countries can realise the transformational potential of digital identity, was attended by officials of government departments and private organisations.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that every single Fijian will have a National Identification Card which will be the only source of ID number and details of all the other identification cards will be incorporated at the back end of the national ID card.

“We want to make things easier for our people where you don’t have to remember multiple

numbers or carry multiple cards with the introduction of the single ID card,” he said.

According to him, this not only becomes the primary source of identification but it also helps

Government to manage the distribution of resources.

“Most Pacific Island countries are vulnerable to climate change. We have had Cyclones Josie,

Keni, Gita affect Fiji and Cyclone Winston also affected Tonga and within 36-hours one-third

of the value of our GDP was reduced by the Category 5 cyclone,” he said.

“We had our Help for Homes Rebuild Programme set-up because the devastation was so immense and Government was morally obliged to provide people with some sort of funding to rebuild their homes,” he added.

A World Bank study has shown that countries facing devastation with single identification system in place have people being able to save a lot of money after a particular disaster. With

the National Identification System in place, the Indian government was able to enhance financial inclusion of up to 75%, he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that the ID system will be used by banks and other stakeholders within the economy to provide quick assistance to people in terms of setting up and accessing bank accounts and registering businesses.

World Bank Resident Representative Lasse Melgaard said that the Workshop focused on the

role of digital ID in improving the performance and integrity of social protection, health and humanitarian information systems.

“We will examine the role of digital ID as an enabler for digital government services, a key building block helping governments transition from manual, paper-based processes to digitalised, online public service delivery,” he said.

“As we grow the digital economy, and deliver more services over the internet, activities and services become cheaper, quicker and more convenient. We also increase inclusion as more people, particularly those living in remote regions, get access to services that previously were out of reach.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

The World Bank is supporting about 40 countries around the world to implement and improve digital identity and civil registration systems.

Source: Fiji Focus

Photo Caption:

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with Workshop attendants (Picture by Azaria Fareen)

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