Jamaica wants to establish the first fully-digitised government system in the region with help from digitally-advanced Estonia, it was announced.

In a statement, the Jamaican government described the proposed National Identification System (NIDS) as being “poised to secure the future growth of Jamaica”. NIDS will provide citizens with a single source of trusted identification, and kickstart Jamaica’s e-Governance push.

Citizens will receive a single identification card and number, allowing them to access government and private sector services online, the statement read.

According to Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart, acting chief technical director at the Office of the Prime Minister, NIDS will be collecting biometric information such as fingerprints and facial scans.

Andrew Holness, the Jamaican Prime Minister, noted that paying taxes online will be convenient for citizens, who may face long lines to conduct business in person, reported Estonianworld.com.

The executive director of the Estonian e-Governance Academy, Arvo Ott, had previously shared with Jamaica about Estonia’s efforts in transforming service delivery with technology, the report said. The academy creates and transfers knowledge and best practices around e-governance with public sector leaders in other nations.

Estonia is renowned for its technological savvy and robust digital systems. For example, the e-Residency programme lets anyone in the world register as an Estonian national and use the country’s digital identity to start a business or sign documents. Furthermore, 90% of Estonia’s government services can be accessed online, according to the Estonianworld.com report.

The European nation also actively helps other countries to build their own digital systems. Earlier this year, GovInsider reported on Estonia’s plans to build a new electronic land registry in partnership with other countries to share the solution.

“Instead of building it alone, we are hoping to do it together with interested partners from other countries, so that everyone could reuse the results and the software later on”, the Ministry of Justice told GovInsider.

Jamaica’s digital identity system is slated to be introduced in 2018, the report said.

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