Tour Of SecureID, Smartcard Manufacturing Facility In Lagos

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Let me thank the Managing Director and founder of SecureID, Mrs. Kofo Akinkugbe, for the very kind and gracious invitation to visit. And I now know why she is such a remarkably successful and celebrated entrepreneur; she simply doesn’t give up! I should have been here last year, perhaps even earlier, but one scheduling difficulty after another, one clash after another made that impossible. But she simply stuck to her guns, and so here I am today.


I also must take this opportunity to thank you for your priceless contribution to the work of the Federal Government’s Industrial and Competitiveness Council of which you are a distinguished member. I also thank the Chairman of SecureID for all of your contributions to the ease of doing business and to industrial competitiveness to Nigeria.


I am excited to be here at SecureID this place of history, innovation, creativity, and disruptiveness.  I   believe we all know by now that this world-class manufacturing facility is reputed to be the first certified smartcard manufacturing plant in sub-Saharan Africa, the only smart card production and personalization plant in West Africa, and one of only six on the continent and one of only 80 in the world.  The facility serves 21 countries across Africa and is fully certified by major commercial card companies – VISA, Verve, and MasterCard.  SecureID has shown that this country can be at the cutting edge of development in technology and digital enterprises.


The world in which companies like SecureID operate, providing comprehensive end-to-end payment, identity management, and digital security solutions, is one that thrives on innovation. The company has in these few years of its existence, provided notable innovative offerings to the financial services sector, telecommunications, government (we have seen so many examples of that), education, healthcare, and private enterprises. Equally remarkable is the fact that with this facility, the company can produce all the payment cards, SIM cards, loyalty cards, and the various identity management cards (residency cards, even voter registration cards, drivers’ license, and national identity cards) required here in Nigeria, with the capacity to spare. That is simply awesome because we have here in this facility, all that we need to produce all of the security cards that this country may require.


Congratulations also for your successes in getting the certifications that will help to meet the demands of customers, such as the Global System of Mobile Applications (GSMA), Visa International, MasterCard Incorporated, Verve, Card Quality Management (CQM), GH-link (for cards to be used in Ghana) and ISO 9001/2015 for Smart Card Manufacturing and Personalization of credit and debit cards. I think you have just proven, again and again, that all of this is possible and it is possible here.


In particular, we must also congratulate SecureID for earning the Global System of Mobile Applications (GSMA) certificate last year. This is a world-class security requirement for SIM card manufacturing and personalization.


Your rapid expansion is also worthy of commendation especially as you have added a number of subsidiaries, one of which is the digital arm of the business (which you have described as the disruptive arm of the business): SID Digital, while the other is involved in transport payment infrastructure. I must say that there is here, what you see of all capitalists everywhere, the desire to cover the field completely and make sure nobody else is able to do much. So, she (Mrs. Kofo Akinkugbe) makes the card and is also about to make digital cards so that if that becomes back business (smartcards), this other one will take off. Well done!


This has put the company in good stead to provide services ranging from identity management to tax collection, school management systems, health management systems, digital cards for the banks, and of course e-ticketing for all forms of transportation, including road, rail, and water.


We are extremely proud of your achievements thus far and I believe that Nigeria’s future will be defined substantially by how well we do in the three areas that SecureID focuses on, notably security, identity, and manufacturing.


Data is the future of the knowledge economy. Today data is building up at lightning speed; our personal data and even behavioral attributes are gathered as we access services on financial, social, and entertainment platforms.


The knowledge economy itself is the future of domestic and global growth and prosperity.   So, the integrity and safety of corporate and personal data are critical especially against cyber-attacks and fraud. Identity is, of course, critical to planning, to the implementation of government programmes, especially Social Investment Programmes, and for effectively expanding financial inclusion.


Digital identification is fundamental for effective participation in the digital economy. This explains why we as a government are working hard on ensuring that we create an effective digital identity system for all Nigerians with the current NIN registration exercise and then manufacturing.  Our government, also following the recommendation of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, has determined that manufacturing will be our main focus in bringing about dynamic growth, jobs, and exports. This will mean retooling our business environment for greater competitiveness, especially with the imminence of the take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. We are rethinking our tax regimes, sorting out external and internal trade issues, getting our regulatory authorities – SON, NAFDAC, and even Customs to see their roles more as business facilitators than policemen or merely revenue generators. Our environment must be friendly for local businesses first, and foreign investments will follow enthusiastically.


Aside from the work we are doing with other infrastructures such as rail, roads, and power, we are committed to a plan of democratizing broadband connectivity. Our programme which we have reiterated in our Economic Sustainability Plan is the Broadband Connectivity for All by 2023.


The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy launched the National Broadband Plan which is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25Mbps in urban areas and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population at affordable prices by the target date of 2023. Broadband connectivity is as important as electricity in the digital age, unlike electricity we do not have to make several mistakes before getting it right.  We can get it right now and we are working hard to do so.


So, I am pleased to have seen first-hand what you are doing at SecureID. Your commitment, creativity, and resilience are metaphors for what our country is set to achieve.


The economic future of our nation is extremely bright. Yes, we have challenges today and they may look daunting. But let me assure you that these issues will be resolved and that the march of this nation to its manifest destiny as Africa’s leading economic power will not be aborted. We are more than able to overcome.


Once again, I thank the innovative and highly resourceful management and staff of SecureID (and I had the occasion to meet so many of the bright young minds, male and female, here in this excellent place), as well as all your partners and collaborators in this outstanding enterprise for this very inspiring experience. And I wish you Godspeed as your take on and beat the best in the world.


God bless SecureID.


God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Thank you.