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Government's IT infrastructure to be upgraded

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — More than 70 per cent of the US$68 million projected for implementation of the National Identification System (NIDS) will be used to upgrade the Government's information and technology (IT) infrastructure.

This is according to NIDS Programme Director, Warren Vernon, who said this is being strengthened to ensure the system is ready for roll-out in 2019.

“Most of the project's budget will be used to upgrade the Government's data centre, which is e-Gov. (and includes) all of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) providing connectivity (and) ensuring that the relevant security systems and processes are in place,” he said.

Vernon was responding to questions from journalists during a press conference at Jamaica House on Tuesday (November 14).

The NIDS, which is being facilitated under the National Identification and Registration Bill, will provide a comprehensive and secure structure to enable the capture and storage of identity information for all Jamaicans.

Under the system, each citizen will be provided with a randomised nine-digit National Identification Number (NIN), which they will have for life.

Vernon further informed that the procurement stage is well advanced for a technological solution that will include enrolment stations, computer systems, fingerprint scanners, cameras, manual signature capture devices, and other equipment required to implement the system.

In the meantime, Director of Communications and Public Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister, Robert Morgan, said one of the key outcomes of the modernisation of the Government's IT infrastructure is to ensure that the system is secure.

“When we are finished modernising the Government's IT infrastructure, it will be one of the most modern… and most secure in the hemisphere,” he assured.

The National Identification and Registration Bill was passed in the Senate on Monday with 168 amendments. It was returned to the House of Representatives today for approval.

The Government intends to put the NIDS infrastructure and systems in place over the next 12 months, beginning with a pilot project in January 2019.

This is expected to be followed by the national roll-out in September 2019, over a period of three to four years.

The layered roll-out and management of the NIDS will be handled by a new agency, the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), which will replace the Registrar General's Department (RGD) and provide more enhanced services.

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