The National Identification Authority (NIA) which was given life under the John Agyekum Kufuor era but suffered serious neglect under the leadership of former President John Dramani Manhama and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to the detriment of the country has been given a new life by the Akufo-Addo government.
The NIA virtually collapsed under the previous NDC government resulting in their failure to provide to every Ghanaian a National Identity Card.
However, in view of making the Authority work again and offer credible service to the Ghanaian people, the National Identification Authority under President Akufo-Addo outdoored a new national ID card, the Ghana Card to formalize Ghana’s economy.
The National Identification Authority is set up to give Ghanaians a front line generous national unmistakable evidence system and a sharp ID card that will meet the propelled objectives of the people.
The formal plan for the taking off of the new ID process begun when the President Nana Akufo-Addo on Friday pick up the first Ghana’s new National Identification Card which clearly signified an era of contemporary robust identification that would expedite Ghana’s development drive.
It could be recalled that few days after winning the 2016 elections, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo promised to complete the National Identification card registration in his first year as president, enumerating clearly the fact that the project would help his government’s decision to formalize the Ghanaian economy through national data.
The President who was speaking at the official launch in Accra said, the event was a fulfilment of that promise he made before the 2016 election to modernize and formalize Ghana’s economy by establishing a credible national database via the National Identification System (NIS).
According to him, the roll out of the Ghana Card was a “dawn of a new day in biometric identity management in Ghana, and the virtues of a public-private partnership arrangement in meeting the country’s development needs.”
President Akufo-Addo, who was not happy about the duplication of biometric systems by government agencies that are required by law to access information from the national Identity Register, insisted that all government establishments are mandated to synchronise their systems with that of the NIA that is obliged to ensure the accuracy, integrity, confidentiality and security of data it collects.
He was however happy that the NIA under his tenure was about to commence the registration and instant issuance of national identity to Ghanaians home and abroad.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the new identification card signals the dawn of a new day in biometric identity management in Ghana, and the virtues of a public-private partnership arrangement in meeting the country’s development needs.
The campaign promise, he recounted, was that “we would modernise and formalise the Ghanaian economy through the establishment of a credible national database, and using the National Identification System (NIS) as the primary identifier, as prescribed by law.”
The President said the National Identification Authority (NIA) under the tenure of an NPP administration is about to commence the registration and instant issuance of national identity cards to all Ghanaian citizens, both at home and abroad, as by law prescribed despite several years of demonstrated inability to do so by the NDC government.
He indicated that the event highlighted the seriousness that his government attached to the project saying that “With my fullest endorsement, Vice President Alhaji Bawumia has ably spearheaded the technical and legal processes that have enabled the Government to decide how to proceed with the goal of achieving the national e-ID system for Ghana, which is beyond needless controversy and polemics.”
He assured the Authority of government’s support for it to enhance its capacity and that of its partners to roll-out the NIS system, whilst reminding stakeholders that they must ensure the integrity, security and confidentiality of data collected.
He said: “It is important that the data collected is made available only to persons or institutions authorized by law to access the data and used only for the purpose for which the data was collected.”
President Akufo-Addo noted that the new Ghana Card is a great improvement over the previous one, and meets all international standards required of such identity documents.
He said: “For example, the national identity card has been enhanced to take advantage of new technologies such as tactile elements for the blind, chip embedding technology and iris capabilities in addition to taking all 10 fingerprints of an applicant.”
Additionally, with a 128 kilobyte capacity, the Ghana Card will enable other stakeholders to run their applications on the national identity card. Ultimately, the card would replace the sectorial identity cards in circulation, and shall be the only card to be used in transactions where identification is required as provided by law.
“This registration exercise is also unique in the sense that it would involve the registration of ages 0-5. This is a historic opportunity for us to sanitize and rationalize birth certification in Ghana and ensure social inclusion right from birth,” President Akufo-Addo said.
President Akufo-Addo reminded the stakeholders to ensure the integrity, security and confidentiality of identity data collected.
“It is important that the data collected is made available only to persons or institutions authorized by law to access the data and used only for the purposes for which the data was collected,” he added.
On his part, Prof. Kenneth Agyemang Attefuah, Executive Secretary of NIA, urged all to avail themselves when the registration and issuance is rolled out nationally in November.
He said this invention indicates a restoration of a sense of confidence, pride and hope for the people of this country.
The new identification card, named “the Ghana Card”, would meet all basic biometric needs of the country and would enable the harmonization and integration of all other data services in Ghana, including passport, National Health Insurance, Social Security and Driving Licenses.
The registration exercise would not only involve adults but children from Zero to five years as well.
However, children from zero to 14 would not be issued the same Ghana Card, but since their biometrics change quickly, they would from the age of 15 be issued with the Ghana Card proper.
The Ghana Card roll-out is collaboration between the National Identification Authority (NIA) and the Identity Management Systems, a subsidiary of the Margins Group, an indigenous identity, and security and transaction solutions provider.
The card, wholly designed and produced in Ghana, is benchmarked to the latest cutting-edge international security standards and considered a vast improvement over the previous one that was issued by the NIA.
It has been enhanced to take advantage of new technologies such as tactile elements for the blind, chip embedding technology and iris capabilities, in addition to capturing the prints of all the ten fingers.
The card, which would be issued instantly in less than ten minutes, has an embedded passport that would allow the holder travel through the ECOWAS region without a physical passport and will help assist in the control of crime, enable fluid banking services across various platforms and ensure social inclusion of all citizens.
The new ID card is depended upon to have a future of 10 years after which it will be endless to a detriment to be controlled by the Authority.