The National Identification Authority (NIA) says its data on the citizenry are comprehensive and robust enough for every government agency, authority and commission to draw on to serve the specific purpose.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NIA, Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, said all the general information required by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Electoral Commission (EC), among others, was captured in its database.
“We are taking information that is absolutely necessary for the establishment of a modern robust identification system,” he said at a press conference in Takoradi last Friday at the start of a mass registration exercise for the Ghana Card in the Central, Western and Western North regions last Friday.
Robust Ghana Card
Prof. Attafuah said with the exception of polling station numbers, there was nothing the Electoral Commission (EC) wanted that the NIA could not provide.
“Everything else the EC wants, we’ve captured, so it (Ghana Card) is robust and comprehensive,” he stressed.
He expressed the hope that people would be so satisfied, such that after the process, “Ghanaians may probably find it unnecessary to go out there and queue for the purpose of registering for anything”.
Triple level of biometrics
Prof. Attafuah said for biometric information purposes, the NIA was interested in the face, ears and eyes, adding, “individual ears and eyes are unique and no two people have same ears or eyes and it’s a good form of identification”.
He added: “We are talking about three levels of biometrics: fingerprint, facial and eyes and we are also taking copies of the ID cards issued by the state, including tax identification number.”
The NIA boss acknowledged that the process was slow, but said there was a reason for that.
“Remember that what we are doing has never happened anywhere in the world — it is not just the nature of data we are capturing that is comprehensive, but we are also printing and issuing cards instantly at multiple centres across the country in real time,” he explained.
He said the lack of capacity and fewer centres at the initial stages of the registration exercise resulted in a slow-going process.
Additionally, he said, some people did not respond readily to the call, while many waited until the last minute before rushing to the centres.
The mass registration exercise for the NIA card was started on April 29, 2019 and expected to end on March 31, this year
The NIA had so far conducted mass registration exercises in the Volta, Oti, Northern, Savannah, North East, Upper East, Upper West, Bono, Ahafo, Bono East and Ashanti regions with four more regions to go to complete the exercise.
“It must be noted that from the pilot phase up till January 16, 2020, the NIA had registered a total of 7,227,939 eligible Ghanaians, printed 6,282,192 cards and issued cards to 4,173,173 qualified Ghanaians,” Prof. Attafuah said.
He said the NIA was set to commence registration for the Ghana Card in the Western, Western North and Central regions simultaneously from January 27, 2020 to February 18, 2020.
The registration centres, he said, would be opened from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day excluding Sundays and public holidays.