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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has signed a contract of over $50 million (N8 billion) with DERMALOG Identification Systems for the deployment and implementation of a biometric system, which would help in resolving issues bordering on authentication, as well as check money laundering activities in the financial system. The project is also expected to effectively introduce biometric automated teller machines (ATMs), point of sales terminals (POS), biometric fraud detection as well as enhance access to credit bureau. THISDAY learnt the cost of the project would be borne by the CBN and all the banks and not the customers. The CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said a unique customer identification system through the use of biometric data capture system was needed to tame the increasing cases of money laundering and other financial fraud in the banking system and economy at large. DERMALOG is one of the world’s leading biometric identification companies and the largest biometrics manufacturer in Germany. Sanusi said an effective biometric system would boost the country our image internationally and help extend credit to people without worrying about where to find them and who they are as well as enhance access to finance. “For those who are not educated can use biometrics to collect their money and be part of the payment system. So I would like to congratulate everybody and say the work is just starting,” he added.He cautioned however, that the biometric system was not in any way incompatible with the national identity card (NIC) project.He said: “This is not in any way a lack of confidence in the government’s identity card process, we will do this and will continue to work with the national identity card team when the time comes, but the central bank has to continue taking the lead in this matters and basically setting the pace for where the country ought to go. “Whatever happens to NIC, we will try to roll in what we have here, but we took a decision almost two years ago that it is not wise to continue waiting for the bigger project to happen and we have to as it were take our own destinies into our own hands and start our own KYC and an identification data base.” Sanusi said the objective, within the next three months, was to install backbones in the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) and the CBN as well as all bank head offices. He added that the introduction of the biometric system would revolutionary in the economy. Sanusi said: “Imagine a world very soon where you do not need to come out with your cheque book or ATM card, all you need to do is just walk to an ATM machine or bank and all you need is your finger to take money. I think this is going to transform the payment system space in a manner that is radical especially with all the new technologies coming in. We have taken the initiative a few weeks ago to make the mobile phone the centre for payment system and we will see how this biometric data works out with the mobile company. “We need to also be able to access all these data bases especially the mobile space because of the mobile payment and how that integrates into what we do.” Meanwhile, Managing Director/Chief Executive, DERMALOG, Mr. Gunther Mull, said it would work hard to meet set deadline and make the Nigerian experience a real showcase to the world. He said: “We hope to be able to do transfer of technology to Nigerians, our partners in Chams and the banks. We would only be here for the initial phase, and afterwards you can still rely on us. But we want Nigerians to be able to work on the system and expand it on their own.”

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