The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has denied issuing a directive that customers should use the national IDs as a primary form of authentication for banks transactions.
While some commercial banks have effected a directive to customers to use national identity card (ID) as a primary form of identification for transactions, claiming this is a directive from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), the central bank has denied having sanctioned the directive.
RBM spokesperson Mbane Ngwira in a written response to questions on Wednesday said the central bank has not authorised the use of national IDs as the only form of identification for banking transactions.
Ngwira was, however, quick to mention that the Malawi Government Gazette Notice No. 67 of 10 August 2018 designated the National ID as a primary identification tool in the country.
He said a task force was also set up to explore the possibility of implementing a centralised digital identity project harnessing the biometric technology of the national IDs.
“Customers will be allowed to temporarily use other IDs as provided for in the Gazette Notice but would be required to update within one year period,” he said.
But FDH Financial Holdings public relations officer Lorraine Lusinje said in an interview FDH Bank directed its customers to use national IDs as a primary form of identification for transactions as a progressive move in line with directive from the central bank.
She said a letter from the central bank indicated that the national ID will be the primary and preferred form of ID in the country going forward.
“We, therefore, believe that it is highly unlikely that out of the two million current customers they will not have either a national ID or a passport considering that one needs to be a passport holder to get a national drivers licence,” she said.
Speaking separately, National Bank of Malawi (NBM) head of strategy, marketing and corporate affairs Wilkins Mijiga also confirmed having directed their customers to use National IDs as a primary form of identification saying the bank welcomes the idea.
He said: “This is a directive given by central bank to all commercial banks but they have given a transition period within which all banks should be on that regime.”
On its part Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito said the body welcomes the developing adding the development may help reduce fraudulent cases.
Meanwhile, other banks notably, Nedbank and NBS have also effected the directive.