The government is set to roll out the digital ID system dubbed ‘Maisha Card’ on Monday next week.
Immigration Principal Secretary Julius Bitok Thursday said that the new and improved digital ID that is fitted with security features, biometrics and a digital signature is not compulsory, however, for new applicants and those replacing a lost ID, it will be mandatory.
In addition PS Bitok noted that newborns will also have a unique identity card which will serve as their birth certificate number.
According to the PS this marks the beginning of a major shift in the registration of persons in Kenya.
The Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) will be crucial throughout a child’s educational journey, serving as their primary and secondary school identification numbers. As the child grows and reaches the age of 18, the UPI seamlessly transitions into their official national identity number.
Also, the UPI will have multi-faceted utility, serving as the child’s National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) number, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) number, driving license number, and ultimately, even their death certificate number.
This robust integration will make the digital ID a central and unifying identifier for various essential aspects of a Kenyan’s life.
Further, with the new system, government officials will also be able to use a digital signature platform to sign official documents even while away from their duty posts.
So far, 400 agencies including the Kenya Revenue Authority have been onboarded with the new personal identifier system.
The digital ID system is expected to enhance Kenya’s tax administration by properly identifying the tax base making it easier to have centralized citizen database.
In June 30 this year, the government gave a directive to the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology and Digital Economy to come up with a digital identity system within 90 days.
The UPI is one of President William Ruto’s administration Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) tied to digitization of government services.
It seeks to digitally register and identify citizens with issuance of smart identity cards.