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What you need to know about the newly launched Maisha number

By Winnie Onyando September 12th, 2023 2 min read

The government says it has set aside Sh1 billion for Unique Personal Identifiers (UPIs) of all Kenyans.

Immigration Principal Secretary Julius Bitok on September 11, 2023, said the UPI will be issued to all citizens at birth.

He said: “We are implementing the President’s directive to introduce a digital ID within 90 days. We shall now have a new number called the Maisha Number that everyone born in Kenya will have. It will be the birth certificate number, used as the ID number, for work, for KRA PIN.”

Nairobi News understands the Maisha number, which is the official name for the new UPI, and Huduma Number, its predecessor that was launched but never quite kicked off, are not similar in any way.

The Maisha Number, is primarily designed to serve as a unique identifier for all Kenyan citizens and meant to be used throughout various stages of life, including at birth, for education, tax payments, and as a death certificate number upon demise. On the other hand, the Huduma Number was initially introduced as a government service number. It aimed to streamline access to various government services, including healthcare, social security, and financial services.

The Maisha Number is set to bring several unique features to the identification system.

Here are some of its key features:

Issued at Birth

The Maisha Number will be assigned to all citizens at birth.  When a baby is born in a Kenyan hospital, they will receive their Maisha Number alongside their birth certificate.

Universal Identification

It will serve as the official identifier throughout various life stages. For instance, when a child enters school, the Maisha Number will be used for their educational records.

Tax Identification

Citizens will use the Maisha Number for tax purposes through the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). When individuals file their taxes, they will provide their Maisha Number to ensure accurate tax assessment and collection.

Death Certificate Number

In the unfortunate event of a person’s demise, their Maisha Number will be used as the official identifier on their death certificate. This simplifies the process of recording and verifying deaths.

Digital Accessibility

The Maisha Number is designed to be accessible digitally. Citizens can choose to have a digital copy of their Maisha Number on their mobile phones, reducing the reliance on physical documents. This feature enhances convenience and security.

The transition from physical to digital

The rollout of the Maisha Number represents a shift from second-generation to third-generation IDs. This means that the new system incorporates digital technology to make identification more efficient and user-friendly.

Maisha Card for Adults

Upon reaching the age of 18, Kenyans will be issued a Maisha Card. This card likely integrates the Maisha Number and serves as a more mature and comprehensive form of identification. It can be used for various purposes, including voting, accessing financial services, and more.

Integration with Various Services

The Maisha Number is expected to be integrated with various government services and private-sector applications, making it a versatile and widely accepted identifier.

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