CBN, banks to commence implementation of $50m biometric project

ABUJA – Come February 14, 2014, the Nigerian banking system will commence the implementation of biometric authentication of all bank customers – a project that has been estimated to cost over $50 million.

With the implementation, bank customers will only need to be identified by their fingerprints and unlike other proofs of evidence currently being used in the system, biometrics gives an identification that cannot be changed and therefore quite desirable, experts say.

lamido sanusi cbn governorThe biometric project has been awarded to a OkeosisiGerman firm, Dermalog and Chams, in a deal that was signed on Tuesday between it and the bankers committee which is chaired by the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). But the cost of the entire project would be borne by the banks and the CBN, according to the governor of the CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

At the contract signing in Abuja, Sanusi noted that it had become necessary for the Nigerian banking system to kick-start a formidable process that would further help in its Know Your Customer (KYC) initiative and create an identification data base.

He said based on this, a sub-committee chaired by Godwin Emefiele, GMD of Zenith Bank with membership from Access, First Bank, UBA and Skye Bank CEOs was set up by the Bankers’ Committee to drive the entire process.

According to him, the whole idea was to start a whole process that would lead to the banking industry collaborating and paying for one single biometric data base that would serve the purpose of helping with authentication, dealing with KYC, money laundering, fraud, credit extension as well as financial inclusion issues.

Sanusi states that the biometrics project is “transformational and revolutionary” and for him, it is the final building block for the transformation of the payment system.


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