Over 800,000 Ghana Cards uncollected

Ghana Card e-passport takes effect
File photo
  • Some 2.5m people yet to register

The Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Prof. Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, has said over 800,000 printed national identification cards (Ghana Card) remain uncollected.

According to Prof. Attafuah, the NIA has opened a total of 276 district offices which are coterminous with constituencies as well as 16 regional offices; and those who have been registered but have yet to collect their Ghana Cards should visit any of the nearest offices to pick up the IDs.

The development comes at a time when a large number of people have blamed their inability to participate in the recent SIM card reregistration on not having the Ghana Card, the only national ID required for the exercise.

The situation has led to many SIM card users or telecommunication subscribers having their mobile numbers blocked.

Meanwhile, the NIA said it has since 2019 registered a total of 17.4 million people (aged 15 and above) out of the country’s population of 31 million. Of this number, 16.3 million people have been issued with their cards. It is estimated that some 2.5 million are yet to be registered and issued their cards.

The Authority is hoping to undertake a mop-up exercise to register the remaining citizens over a three-month period.

For those aged 0 to 15 years, the Authority said it is working with the Births and Deaths Registry and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to register and provide new-borns with their unique identity numbers linked to that of their parents.

But for children aged 6 to 14 years, a partnership arrangement has been made with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to begin registering and issuing them their Ghana Cards.

Prof. Attafuah revealed this during a ceremony to register some 50 cured lepers at the Weija Leprosarium, and intimated that no Ghanaian will be left behind in the registration of Ghana Cards.

Vice President Dr. Bawumia, left, and Rev. Father Campbell, interacting with one of the children being treated at the Weija Leprosarium

It is against this background that he said efforts are being made to go around the country to also register inmates and patients of specialised institutions, including homes for cured lepers and hospitals among others.

Despite their disability that prevented cured lepers from joining the mass registration exercise, Prof. Attafuah explained that the NIA has devised a scheme to capture their biometric data using the facials, irises and ears of those being registered.

“It is an important occasion because it assures the people of this country of our bounding duty to ensure social, economic and political inclusion,” he said.

All Ghanaians per the law establishing the authority, regardless of their social and economic status, must be registered onto the national identity register. To this end, he indicated that the NIA will proceed to register those in prisons as well.

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, through whose facilitation the registration was undertaken for the cured lepers, acknowledged the Ghana Card as important for all citizens, as it will be required for many official undertakings in the future.

Because of this, he said, it is required that nobody is left out or denied a chance to be registered. It is in this regard that the opportunity has been created to register the cured lepers, he said.

“This is going to be repeated in other parts of the country,” he assured, adding that for instance the law prescribes some 17 mandatory uses of the Ghana Card – for which reason everyone must be registered by the NIA.

He commended the NIA for being able to register a significant number of Ghanaians, while revealing that usage of the GhanaCard has gone up – with data showing over 120 million identity verifications using it.

Dr. Bawumia, second from right, observing the registration of some cured leapers at the Weija Leprosarium

Head of the Weija Leprosarium, Rt. Rev. Father Andrews Campbell, while welcoming the exercise at the facility also noted the challenges faced in being able to care for those at the Leprosarium.

He entreated the public to continue their assistance to leprosy patients across the country, given the lack of funding. He was very thankful in this regard to Vice President Dr. Bawumia for his keen interest in helping the cured lepers.

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