No Ghana Card, no banking/financial services – BoG directs

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Dr. Ernest Addison, Governor of the central bank

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has directed that all customers without the Ghana Card will from July 1, 2022 be denied access to all banking and financial services at any institution under oversight of the central bank.

A public notice released by the bank on January 19, 2022 has instructed banks, Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions (SDIs), non-Deposit-Taking Financial Institutions, payment service providers, and dedicated electronic money issuers, forex bureaux and credit reference bureaux, not to accept any form of identification for transaction purposes except the Ghana Card issued by the National Identification Authority (NIA).

Customers of all the affected institutions are therefore advised to update their records with their respective financial institutions with the Ghana Card.

The regulator says it will also take steps to ensure that the NIA verification transaction platform will be integrated into the Bank of Ghana’s financial monitoring platform. This, the notice said, is to ensure that all financial transactions performed within the ecosystem are linked to one identity and information, and unique codes for the transactions shared with the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to facilitate the identification of initiators/beneficiaries for track and trace purposes.

Ghana Card controversies

Already, there are many controversies regarding recognition of the Ghana Card as the only proper means of identification in the country. Some feel passports and possibly the Voter ID cards should also be accepted as forms identification.

Besides this, there are also many agitations from citizens regarding the long queues and frustrations at registrations centres for the Ghana Card – a situation that has discouraged many from getting the card.

And, currently, there is also a scuffle between the NIA and the National Communication Authority (NCA) over mobile SIM reregistration process; whereby the former has disassociated itself from new biometric data collection by the telecommunication companies.

According to the NIA, the process by which the NCA – acting by itself or through a third party – will collect and store biometric data of SIM cardholders is exclusive to the NCA; and the NIA did not have any input in development of the Android Registration Application, hence it cannot confirm authenticity of the data.

“For this reason, NIA is unable to confirm that the biometric data to be collected by the NCA for the purpose described above will meet the standard that enables successful verification against the National Identification System (NIS) database,” Professor Attafuah explained in a letter.

The NIA says verifying the identity of SIM cardholders against the National Identity Register (NIR) is its sole prerogative, and cannot be performed by a third party for and on behalf of NIA.

Although NIA said it was aware that it will play a role in the SIM card registration process, the exact details of the role and its associated cost have not yet been agreed on and concluded between it and the NCA.

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