Commercial breakthrough for Precise Biometrics in Nigerian State ID project

The Cross River State is the first Nigerian state to implement biometric technology and combine authentication and payment in a state-wide `Smartcity’ card. The state ID card program is the first of its kind in the world and a breakthrough for Precise Biometrics on the African continent. In the coming years, all citizens in Cross River State, close to 3 million people, will be issued a card. More Nigerian and African States are expected to follow the market development with biometric ID and payment cards.

The Smartcity card will be used by the citizens for personal identification in public services such as tax declaration, healthcare, social benefits and pension, as well as enabling commercial services such as e-payments.

The program, called the SmartGov Initiative, allows the Cross River State to automate government services, create tracability and transparency of their systems and grow revenue. The citizens will experience easy and convenient access to a number of services, which will make processes such as receiving money for various social services more efficient. The solution is built on Interswitch's Paydirect solution; an e-payment solution which is currently operational is 26 of Nigeria's 36 states.

The Cross River Governor, Liyel Imoke, states that "One of the advantages of e-payment is to create efficiency within the public sector while providing good service delivery to the people."
Mitchell Elegbe, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of InterSwitch, notes that Cross River is the first state in Nigeria to fully deploy SmartGov. "With this project, Cross River State and InterSwitch are writing history".

Thomas Marschall, CEO at Precise Biometrics, elaborates:

– The SmartGov Initiative is a highly interesting approach and a true forerunner to a development we expect to see in a number of countries. Payments as well as other transactions and services that require identification of an individual are made possible in a quick and easy way thanks to biometrics. This is an important expansion of the ID market that we expect will increase our business opportunities in this field. It is also very pleasing that our partnership with Interswitch is already starting to generate projects and income for both companies.

The card program will be rolled out over the coming years and starts to generate income for Precise Biometrics in 2011. The order value is not finalized and thus cannot be communicated at this point.

About Precise Biometrics
Precise Biometrics is the world-leading supplier of biometric Match-on-Card technology with close to 100 million licenses contracted around the world.

About Interswitch
Interswitch is the leading provider of electronic transaction switching and payment processing in Nigeria and also one of the prime contractors for the National ID card in the country. Major shareholders in the company are a number of African banks.

About the initiative
The SmartGov Initiative is run by SmartGov.CRSG Limited which is a joint venture between Interswitch and the Cross River State Government.