AU T H O R I T I E S announced here yesterday that plans are at an advanced stage for the government to start issuing new mandatory smart identity cards integrated with biometrics to all Tanzanian- Zanzibaris.
Dr Hussein Khamis Shaaban, the Managing Director (MD) of the Zanzibar Civil Status Registration Agency (ZCSRA) which operates under the Ministry of State-President’s Office, Regional Administration, Local Government and Special Department informed journalists here that the exercise is scheduled for official launch next Tuesday (Sept 04, 2018).
He emphasised that all Tanzania citizens living in Zanzibar and who qualify to be ‘Zanzibari’ as per Zanzibar laws will be required to have the smart card that digitally encodes personal information, fingerprints, photo and facial profile.
“The smart card replaces the current ‘Zanzibari Identification Card’ which has insufficient personal information, an inconvenience as far as security is concerned,” said Mr Shaaban, adding that with growing technology, modern ID is prerequisite to plans.
He said after the government switched to e-passports and the union government National Citizenship Identity Cards, “No way can Zanzibar avoid to go with the necessary changes.
The new biometric ID cards will support the government’s overall development planning, and control security.” The MD informed members of the press that President Ali Mohamed Shein is scheduled to grace the launching of the registration of Zanzibaris and issuing of the smart IDs along with the opening of the ZCSRA district offices at Dunga in Unguja Central.
The nationwide exercise targets more than five hundred thousand Zanzibaris starting at the age of 18, but the MD did not reveal the contractor for the multimillion project.
Mr Hamid Haji Machano - a lawyer at the Zanzibar Civil Status Registration Agency said that personal data will be stored in the card, which will also contain other important information stored in a secured database. Machano said “The main purpose is to ease access to services like entrances, banks, travel and identification electronically, but also the new ID will help to combat cheating, theft and other criminal acts.”
The authorities said that the new technology for Zanzibari smart IDs will also improve registration and issuance of certificates (for birth, death, marriage, and divorce), because it is also the duty of the ZCSRA established this year (2018).
The lawyer said that the smart ID card which is embedded with biometric features is an ingenious technology solution that the government has adopted to further raise the service delivery levels in all sectors, and also makes tracking possible, as each person will remain a unique and identifiable individual.