PNG Introduced Digital Banking ID and Possibly Biometric Voting System

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Papua New Guinea (PNG) has an estimated 9 million people. The PNG mainland and 600 islands cover 452,860 square kilometers. Most PNGens are Melanesian, but some are Micronesian or Polynesian. Recently PNG has introduced digital banking IDs for banks and the possibility of implementing a biometric voting system is on the horizon. 

Papua New Guinea to introduce a biometric voting system  

The National, a popular newspaper, reports that the PNG Government is exploring biometric voting for future elections. In response to the opposition’s questions, the country’s Prime Minister, James Marape, said the biometric voting system would be easier to implement following the government’s census next year.

James Marape has expressed interest in implementing a biometric voting system in time for the next general election. According to Marape, the upcoming census planned by the government should make this process much simpler. Marape told The National, “We want them to have full financing and do a thorough study into what transpired this year and in past elections dating back to 2007. We want them to make an educated, fact-based proposal for 2027 and beyond elections.” The president of the state agreed the biometric system will use the PNG National Identification (NID) system.   

When asked about the biometric voting technology, Marape responded it was only a suggestion at this time. He remarked, “The plan should be developed enough to submit by 2023. The government needs to take up the matter for adoption.” Opposition Leader, Joseph Lelang questioned Marape on the election process review status and the importance of appropriate identification of individuals in relation to voting.  Marape promised that the National Identification (NID) system will be used to implement biometric voting.  “We want them to have unlimited resources so they can investigate everything that has transpired since the 2007 election. We want them to provide a well-reasoned, data-driven recommendation for how we should run elections in 2027 and beyond,” he said.

Papua New Guinea introduces digital ID for banking 

In the next three months, over 2,500 residents in Maprik and Wewak, East Sepik, will get access to a digital bank ID trial project. This comes after the Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) introduced it formally on Monday in Port Moresby. Women’s Micro Bank Ltd (WMBL) CEO, Gunanidhi Das, said, “The project will help about 80% of our informal and rural people with their banking, making it more accessible, inexpensive, accountable, and inclusive for everyone.” And, according to Das, it will benefit banks in overcoming the know-your-customer (KYC) hurdle.  WMBL and MiBank are implementing the initiative of facilitating client account opening operations with digital identity cards, thanks to BPNG’s partnership with Digizen. 

The project’s end goal is to make opening a bank account easier by providing proof of identification using biometrics that satisfies all applicable regulations. To help those without papers or who are unable to do so in our nation, “the digital access tool is a digital identification and validation mechanism,” explained Das. Acting Governor Benny Popoitai unveiled the initiative, while Digizen CEO, Kimmo Koivisto, gave a presentation. 

When we talk about government-level biometric implementation, the development and the work that runs in the background are mind-boggling. Dispatching these to developers is also a huge risk as there is a high chance of never reaching the deadline. That’s why many governments around the world turn to end-to-end turnkey solutions. M2SYS also offers a Biometric Turnkey Solution that offers a wide range of biometric scanners and modalities. For more information, get in touch with us.


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