Government to roll out Unique Personal Identifiers in September 2023

Principal Secretary for Immigration Professor Julius Bitok and Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Addyson Nyale (left), address the media during a tour to monitor working conditions in some of his government offices in Eldoret on Friday, May 13, 5, 2023. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

The government has announced that it will start the issuance of Unique Personal Identifiers (UPI) to newborns from September 16.

UPIs will give newborns in the country lifetime registration numbers.

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok said that if everything goes according to plan the targeted date also coincides with the global date set aside to mark milestones in digital identity.

Bitok was speaking at the 7th Augmented General Meeting of the ID4Africa at the Kenya College of Insurance in South C, Nairobi on Tuesday.

The meeting is a continental gathering that showcases the latest innovations in digital registration technology.

“As we reflect on UPI, we are very keen to identify September 16th as the day the government will be able to roll out some of the activities to support the UPI which will be the foundation for our smart identity,” he said.

He told the close to 2,000 delegates drawn from 90 countries that the envisaged smart registration was intricately tied to the digitization of government services.

He said the government hoped to make more than the 5,000 services that were initially targeted for digitalisation and easy access available on the eCitizen platform.

To diversify revenue streams and minimise crime linked to identity theft, the government will consolidate and digitalize existing registration databases under its custody and promote pay-to-access use by telecommunication firms and other businesses that rely on Know-Your-Customer (KYC) profiles.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo said the government had no intention of reviving the Huduma Namba.

He said that rather than reintroducing the smart card whose rollout was beset by legal and political challenges, the government will instead consult widely with stakeholders to arrive at a broadly acceptable and advanced ID.

‘We will consider what works best for us as a country while factoring in all available options through a consultative approach that addresses the concerns of many of our stakeholders.”

He said the government will provide the necessary policy and regulatory environment for technology and innovation companies to support its quest for smart registration.

The three-day conference brings together governments, public institutions, international agencies, civil society in Africa and leading innovation and technology firms in the world to discuss and showcase trends in developments in the registration industry.