NIA justifies US$1.2bn Ghana Card ….expected to last for 15 years

The Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA) Professor Ken Attafuah has justified the 1.2 billion dollars allocated for the operation and registration of Ghanaians for the Ghana Card.

The total cost for the first year is US$293m while the whole life cost of the project is estimated at US$1.2billion over 15 years.

Addressing Parliament in Accra on Tuesday, on the National Identification Registration Exercise, the Executive Secretary of the NIA, Professor Attafuah made it known to the Members of Parliament that contrary to some misinformation peddling in the public every Ghanaian can use his or her voter ID in addition to other requirements such as digital address, passport, Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to register for the Ghana card.

Contrary to popular misconception, the NIS goes beyond just the issuance of identity cards; it includes citizenship recognition and/or determination, data integration, harmonisation of identification systems, as well as data storage and exchange systems for all Ghanaians living in Ghana or abroad from cradle to grave, Professor Attafuah noted

The NDC Minority in Parliament had raised some issues including the total cost of registering all qualified Ghanaians and hinted of addressing the press yesterday but those issues were largely addressed by the officials of NIA at a committee on the whole sitting forcing the Minority to put their press conference on hold.

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The officials of NIA clarified that they have plans of making sure that all Ghanaians at rural areas where data connectivity is very weak will also be registered, adding that in a situation where its extremely difficult to print the card because of weak connectivity, the information would be transferred to the headquarters for print out and send the cards back to them at their various places.

With regards to other financial issues such as fees and charges raised by the Minority in Parliament, the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu who was chairing the meeting, noted that Parliament will work on all the financial documents before the House.

The officials of NIA have already started registering and issuing the Ghana card to MPs and some staff of parliament.

The objectives of the project are to enable NIA to fulfil its statutory mandate, enable NIA to generate revenue to fund its operations and projects, upgrade the NIS to become the foremost source of identification systems in Ghana.

The revamped NIS project constitutes a major developmental impetus, particularly in transforming and formalising the Ghanaian economy and enhancing e-governance in the country.

It is also expected to undergo periodic upgrades of the technical system every five years in line with good industry practice. This is estimated to cost $59.6million. Maintenance and support of the system are also estimated at $18.1million, over the 15 years, consistent with international benchmarks.

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Ghanaians will, for the first time, be able to access e-government and e-commerce services by using the Ghana Card, assured of the security, reliability and traceability of the identities of the bearers of the Ghana Card.

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