“First class” biometric identity cards for Ghanaians

Although the identity card service is currently confronted with logistical constraints, Professor Attafuah felt that these challenges are not insurmountable. Speaking to the Ghanaian Times in Accra, the director of the NIA confirmed that he was working to coordinate and oversee the registration and issuance of national identification cards to more than 27 million people this year.

Professor Attafuah confirmed that the President has brought together the Social Security, National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), National Information Technology Authority (NITA), Death and Birth Registry, National Health Insurance Authority, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the Electoral Commission (EC) to seek their views on the progress of biometric registration.

The technical committees must determine the best parameters in order to ensure greater efficiency and harmonization of the identification process. The NIA was established in 2003 under the auspices of the Office of the President with the mandate to issue national identity cards and manage the National Identification System (NIS). The National Identity Authority Act, 2006 (Law 707) on Legal Support and the National Identity Registry Act (Law 750) were also enacted to authorize the collection of personal biometric data and to ensure the privacy and personal information of registrants.

The registration of Ghanaians for biometric cards began about 14 years ago and the process has stagnated. Of the 25 million cards expected, only a handful have been distributed.

The government must be able to reliably identify citizens in order to ensure public security, issue social benefits, control immigration and facilitate national planning. A national identification system will help address national security issues, credit information, revenue collection, passport and driver’s license, and voter registration.

Other public service delivery and human development activities such as registration of births, deaths and marriages, social security and the national health insurance system will then use a comprehensive system of identification. See also www.ghanaiantimes.com.gh/

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