The government this morning begins testing a Sh6 billion plan to register nearly 50 million Kenyans for a digital database.

The Huduma Namba registration exercise kicked off on Monday across the country in the various counties that had been selected for the pilot program.

Until Friday, residents of 40 sub-locations in 15 counties picked for the pilot experiment of the National Integrated Identity Management System (Niims) will have their data captured in biometric kits.

Some of counties in the pilot are Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, Kajiado, Baringo, Marsabit, Embu, Makueni, Busia, Nyandarua, Kiambu, Kilifi and Tana River.

In Marsabit County, Uran location in Moyale Sub-County and Kargi location in Laisamis Sub-County have been identified as the two area for the said pilot exercise.

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho says 31,500 kits have been distributed in readiness for the mass rollout covering the country’s 8,500 sub-locations next month.

According to information from the Department of Immigration Services, the registration exercise is aimed at assigning individuals a unique national identification number — dubbed Huduma Namba — , and that it will be carried out across all chiefs camps.

Every citizen above the age of six is expected to physically present her/himself to the point of registration as it‘s an exercise that cannot be delegated to third parties.

Mobile registration schedules moving from home to home and mobile stations like shopping centres have been drawn up to facilitate the countrywide project.

“Kenyans who will not be registered in the National Integrated Identity Management Systems (NIIMS) will be denied crucial government services,” read their statement from the department.

For one to be registered, they will be required to produce at least an identification document which can either be a birth certificate, ID card, driving licence or the Kenya Revenue Authority PIN.

Huduma Namba is a programme which was initiated through Executive Order No. 1 of 2018 to create and manage a Central Master Population Register which will be the authentic ‘source of truth’ of the identity of all persons residing in Kenya.

According to the Department of Immigration Services, the exercise upon completion will help guard against impersonation and fraud, authentication of personal data as well as the enhancement of access to government services