Government through the Ministries of Technology and Science, Finance and National Planning as well as Home Affairs and Internal Security has embarked on a process to develop a unified digital identity number for all its citizens which is critical towards achieving digital transformation.
Technology and Science Minister Felix Mutati revealed at an event to review the 100 days of his ministry that the unified digital identity will enable Zambians to have one unique identity number that will generate fundamental economic gains for the country once fully implemented.
Mr Mutati said the challenge posed especially to the banking sector as a result of lacking this digital identity is that every time a new customer is being processed, the institution has to conduct what they call ‘know your customer’ which leads to multiple processing and banks do not share the KYC for easier processing.
Mr Mutati said because of not having unified identity, people are able to access different facilities even when they are a delinquent in another bank which puts fundemental costs on the economy.
The minister said if the country had a unified digital identity, people can no longer hide and is much more important for government which has a number of facilities it dispatches to its citizens such as FISP, Social Cash Transfer and other empowerment processes.
He said because the country does not have a common identity and systems that are not integrated, an individual can simply access social cash transfer, FISP and other empowerment programs from government only benefiting a small critical mass in the end.
And Mr Mutati said with the digital identity, any government system will be able to show what every individual is entitled to and what they already got thereby eliminating double dipping processes and change of identities by individuals.
“What we have noticed from an economic perspective is that we are creating creating unnecessary costs on the economy of Zambia. When you ask bankers why some times the cost of money is so high, they will tell you it is because of non-performing loans which in part is because those that are creative keep getting loans and getting away with it” Mr Mutati said.
He said once this digital identity is in place, all transactions by an individual will be available for interrogation by institutions such as the Zambia Revenue Authority to establish the landing tax of any individual.