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Ghana aims to issue 27M biometric ID cards in next year

Despite current logistical challenges, Ghana’s newly appointed National Identification Authority (NIA) CEO told the The Ghanaian Times this week that he is working towards carrying out his mandate to coordinate and supervise the registration and issuance of national biometric identification cards to 27 million citizens within a year.

NIA CEO, Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah, also a senior law lecturer at the Central University College, said he believed the challenges were not unsurmountable.

Two weeks ago the Office of the President organized a meeting with Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), National Information Technology Authority (NITA), Death and Birth Registry, National Health Insurance Authority, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Electoral Commission (EC) and legal and finance technical committees to advise the government whether to continue the existing national identification registration or start fresh. The committees are expected to report their findings later this week.

Biometric registration for the Ghanaian ID cards started 14 years ago but has stalled with only a handful of cards distributed.

National or civil ID is a means for tracking citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents for the purposes of work, taxation, government benefits, health care, and other government-related functions. Examples of this could be for the purposes of document issuance, border management, voter registration or employment background checks.

The absence of a reliable means of national identification has created problems for the administration and management of resources in the country.

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