Ghana Card to function as full biometric passport under government plan

Ghana Card to function as full biometric passport under government plan

Ghanaians may soon be able to use the national biometric ID card as an international travel document, even beyond the borders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), National Identification Authority (NIA) Executive Secretary Professor Kenneth Attafuah told an Accra radio show, GhanaWeb reports.

The Ghana Card contains an electronic chip which stores the bearer’s biometric data, and is valid for identification at borders within the ECOWAS region.

Now, the NIA is in talks with other government bodies, including the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), on integrating Ghana Card data with the passport office and how to meet international travel document standards.

“The conversation we had with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NITA is to get the appropriate certification and International Standardisation Organisation (sic) Certification and the International Civil Aviation Organisation Certification (ICAO) so that the Ghana Card itself can be a valid passport for travel to Europe, the American countries,” Attafuah explained in an appearance on the Asaase Breakfast Show this week.

ICAO standards include specifications to enable interoperable biometric data for use during border identity checks.

Once this process is complete, the NIA plans to extend Ghana Card registration to the Ghanaian diaspora.

The NIA recently merged the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) database with its records, in a move expected to decrease the cost of issuing biometric credentials for the national pension scheme.

Rolling out biometric passports to ease international travel was a campaign promise of the NPP, which currently makes up the government in a parliamentary coalition with independent representatives, in last year’s election.

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