Ghana’s identity authority claims $80M debt from government over ID card production
The Executive Secretary of Ghana’s National Identification Authority (NIA), Prof Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, has insisted that the government owes the ID-issuing agency outstanding arrears of almost $80 million for the production of ID cards.
The debt owed by the government is part of the reason why over three million Ghana Cards were withheld early this year by some partners of the NIA, according to a recent audio report by MyJoyOnline.
The NIA only took an order for part payment by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Attah for the cards to be released for distribution, the publication reveals.
It is believed that the government debt has negatively affected the production of the ID card, which is increasingly being solicited for access to different services.
Over the years, there has been a backlog in the issuance of Ghana Cards, which has greatly affected the lives of citizens, making it difficult for many of them to comply with a government directive for all SIM cards to be re-registered using the digital ID.
There is also an ongoing biometric voter registration campaign in the country with the Ghana Card being the main credential required. Many say they are unbale to register for the upcoming general elections because of lack of ID cards.
This comes as the Chairperson of the Ghana Elections Commission (EC) Jean Mensa has explained that the compilation of the voter’s register will be done using the voter’s card and not the Ghana Card.
In a recent press outing, Mensa said the EC will use the voter’s cards because it identifies voters based on their polling stations, which allows for proper preparations ahead of the elections, GhanaWeb reports.
She said with the voter’s card, the EC will be able to know the number of potential voters in each polling station and adequately plan for them.
“At the pointing of voting, we have the biometric verification devices and we feed in everybody’s details from that particular polling station in the kit. So, when you come to vote, your biometrics are verified, your fingerprints and face are verified. We are not able to do this with the Ghana Card,” said Mensa as quoted by GhanaWeb.
The EC Chair also gave an update of the ongoing limited voter’s registration in the country, saying over 182,000 persons had registered within the first six days of the exercise.
In a Ghana Card-related story, Prof Attafuah has opined that banks and other financial institutions in the country would curb the level of fraud in the sector if they used the Ghana Card for account holder authentication.
The NIA boss made the remark this month during an event to mark the 2023 ID Day, in which he emphasized the importance of digital identity in the attainment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, writes GhanaWeb.
He said banks in Ghana have lost more than 162 million Ghanaian cedi (US$14 million) to fraud.
Ghana recently launched a nationwide follow-up activity for Ghana Card registration.