Facial recognition for GIFP members

Obrein Simasiku

The Government Pension Insitutions Fund (GIPF) has intensified security features, sealing loopholes of dubious payments to non-existent individuals by cheating the system, as it introduced a Biometric System which can capture both facial and fingerprints.

Previously the fund heavily relied on fingerprint identification, while the new system has an added security feature of facial scanning which has a liveness detection. This is especially critical to members with disabilities in respect of their hands, or damage to fingers which may be difficult to scan, says Evans Maswahu, GIPF chairperson Benefits and Administration Committee.

The new system has verification capabilities even when there is no connectivity, remote verification services using different platforms, as well as an enhanced security feature which require facial capturing and liveness detection; thus, someone cannot cheat the system using a picture of someone else.

“GIPF strives to be a leading pension fund globally. Therefore, high on the GIPF’s agenda and strategy is digital transformation, sustainability, and service excellence. It is against this background that the GIPF saw it fit to acquire a state-of-the-art solution for the benefit of its esteemed members. The new solution requires that all qualifying annuitants are enrolled, and this involves capturing of their biometrics data which includes both fingerprint and facial capturing into an Automated Biometrics Identification System (ABIS),” he explained at the launch today.

Maswahu thus implored all qualifying annuitants to enrol, adding that the fund will require beneficiaries to periodically verify as proof of life, so they may continue to receive their benefits.

“However, prior to verifying a member is required to be enrolled, and failure to enroll will result in benefits being discontinued as the fund has no proof of life. I reiterate that the fund places great emphasis on sustainability, and therefore needs to ensure benefits are only paid out to correct beneficiaries, thus annuitants are encouraged to enroll to make sure their benefits continue to be paid timeously,” said Maswahu.

The board chairperson, further cleared the air, saying, the term ‘qualifying’ refers to all annuitants receiving an income from the GIPF, and that should not be mistaken with those receiving any Government grants. Qualifying annuitants include all retired members be it those on early or normal retirement, spouses and children of deceased members of GIPF. “It is important to note that this is limited to those in receipt of a monthly income from the GIPF.”

GIPF will be deploying mobile teams to remote areas to conduct such verifications during the verification period which runs until February 2023, as it takes cognisance of the non-availability of internet services in some places. In future GIPF plans to introduce self-help kiosks like those found in various petrol stations where members can verify themselves.

By Observer