Kingston, Jamaica, October 10, 2016 – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the National Identification System (NIDS) is set to roll out in January 2018. He said NIDS is expected to have a transformative effect on Jamaica, providing a comprehensive and secure structure to capture and store personal identity information for citizens and persons resident in the island.
The Prime Minister, who was addressing the Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston today (October 10), informed that NIDS was the first item on the agenda for discussion at today’s meeting of the Cabinet. He said that given all the processes involved in setting up the system, he recognizes that the 2018 target date for it to be operational is ambitious, but achievable.
Mr. Holness said the Government has identified the setting up of NIDS as a strategic priority. What is envisioned is a cradle-to-grave biometric identification system with a unique identification number being used for every Jamaican, with the appropriate anti-fraud features. “This source of identification will be considered as conclusive for the purpose of customer due diligence, not only for banks but for all businesses which require customer identification and verification,” he pointed out.
Biometric and demographic information will be accessible through databases and computer networks, he added. “We must leverage every technological resource at our disposal to meet the demands of the global business environment. Government’s use of technology in regulation and compliance must be in step with international practices,” he said.
Mr. Holness noted further that NIDS will serve to eliminate some procedural steps and make compliance with AML/CFT regulations in the financial sector easier, while also leading to greater financial inclusion. The NIDS project is being implemented by the Office of the Prime Minister, through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and was allocated a sum of $14.98 billion this financial year for its continued development. The project aims to establish a reliable identification system for Jamaicans and other nationals resident in the country, with a unique National Identification Number (NIN) as the primary key identifier of a person in the system.
NIDS has been in development since 2009 and will result in improved governance and management of social, economic and security programmes. The two-day AML/CFT Conference is being hosted by the Jamaica Bankers Association (JBA) and the Jamaica Institute of Financial Services (JIFS), under the theme ‘Understanding Our Obligations… Safeguarding Our Future’.