Gov’t to spend Ksh.1B for Unique Personal Identifier dubbed Maisha Card

Gov’t to spend Ksh.1B for Unique Personal Identifier dubbed Maisha Card

Immigration Principal Secretary Julius Bitok addressing the media on the unique identification number to be known as Maisha Namba. PHOTO| COURTESY

The government has set aside Ksh. 1 billion for Unique Personal Identifiers (UPIs) for all Kenyans. 

Immigration Principal Secretary Julius Bitok on Tuesday said the UPI will be issued to all citizens at birth.

It will be used as the official identifier throughout all education stages, tax payment through the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and as the death certificate number upon demise.

“We are implementing the president’s directive that we introduce a digital ID within 90 days. We shall now have a new number called the Maisha Number that everyone born in Kenya will have. It will be the birth certificate number, used as the ID number, for work, for KRA PIN,” Bitok said.

Speaking after meeting the National Digital Identity Technical Committee, Bitok said Kenyans who attain the age of 18 will be issued with a card dubbed Maisha Card.

He described the rollout as a phasing out of the current generation of IDs to identifiers that are accessible digitally.

“This is a move from second-generation to third-generation IDs. It will be accessible digitally so that those not willing to carry the physical copy can have a digital copy on their phones,” the PS said.

The digital ID is also intended to support the consumption of online services offered by the government and the private sector by making it easier to identify clients while minimizing identity fraud, forgeries and other misrepresentations.

PS Bitok explained that unlike Huduma Namba that was beset by many legal and implementation challenges, Maisha Card will not require fresh registration or harvesting of personal biometrics.

Instead, the card which is essentially an upgrade of the current 2nd generation card will be rolled out in phases with first-time ID applicants, those seeking duplicates and replacements for lost IDs among the pioneer beneficiaries.

The Master Population Register will integrate existing databases for all persons born in Kenya, those on transit and refugees in the country database.

“We want a master population register that is integrated to the extent that whenever someone applies for a passport, the system should be able to tell if that person has a birth certificate and an ID so that we have accuracy in our identity management systems,” PS Bitok says.

Among the key features of Maisha card is an MRZ (Machine Readable Zone) in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that will make it possible to decipher personal encrypted details.

Meanwhile, the technical committee of Principal Secretaries with dockets that are critical to the eventual implementation of the digital ID approved Maisha Card which is set to replace the current 2nd generation ID.

Also approved is a unique identification number to be known as Maisha Namba that will be issued to all new-borns as a birth certificate number, a digital signature that will make it possible to identify Kenyans using mobile phones and other smart gadgets, and a master national population register.

President William Ruto is expected to launch the UPI on September 29.


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