Govt to spend Sh1bn on new generation ID's dubbed 'Maisha Cards'


• The PS said the new IDs will be different from the Huduma Namba.

PS Julius Bitok
Image: The-Star

The new third-generation IDs, dubbed the Maisha Card, will be distributed by the government for a cost of Sh1 billion.

The new IDs will be distinct from the Huduma Namba, according to State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok.

“We have transitioned from Huduma Namba to Maisha Card. I want to point out that we will not go back to Kenyans for biometrics because we will use the existing database,” he said.

The Huduma Namba digital programme was introduced by the previous administration but was halted by the courts due to concerns about data protection.

The Kenya Kwanza administration is now introducing digital IDs with comparable features.

The concept intends to provide residents and citizens with a distinctive and simple-to-verify digital identify.

The government hopes to improve service delivery and encourage financial inclusion for all by establishing this digital ID system.

The Unique Personal Identifier can be utilised as both the index number for national exams and the school admittance number.

After turning 18, UPI can be used as an ID, a registration number for NHIF and NSSF, and a driving licence number.

The proposed National Digital Identifier (Maisha Namba), according to Bitok, has received approval from the National Digital Identity Technical Committee, which was tasked with developing a digital ID for the nation.

“At the end of 90 days we will roll out activities for the implementation of Maisha Namba,” he said.

The PS said it will take time to fully roll out the third-generation IDs.

“We will take between two to three years to transition to the new number if we issue about three to four million cards annually,” he said.

Kenyans who replace their lost identification cards will instead receive the Maisha Card, according to Bitok.

“About 1.5 million IDs are replaced annually. Those replacing their lost or damaged IDs will get Maisha Cards,” he said.

After presiding over a meeting of the National Digital Identity Technical Committee's Principal Secretaries Sub-Committee, Bitok addressed the media.

Kenya's President William Ruto ordered the group 90 days to develop a digital ID.

Twenty days remain for the committee.

A number of registrations, including the application and renewal of driving licences, passport applications, NHIF and NSSF card applications, and birth and death certificate applications, had been consolidated into one identity number by Huduma Namba.

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