Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the vice president of Ghana has reiterated government’s determination to proceed with the National Identification card exercise despite widespread criticisms.
“The issuance of cards has started this year and should be completed next year. There are those who have developed well-honed capacity to resist change and to kick against innovation, but the Ghana card has come to stay,” Dr. Bawumia said on Wednesday.
The National Identification Authority commenced process for the Ghana cards exercise earlier in in the year with the presidency, parliament and some selected dignitaries.
Though government is expected to roll out mass registration soon, the Minority in Parliament boycotted the exercise over NIA’s restricted identification process.
Currently, the NIA only accepts a passport or a birth certificate as proof of citizenship per the law that regulates their work.
In the absence of passport and birth certificate, third parties are also allowed to verify or authenticate the identity of people who do not have the above requirements.
The Minority had mounted pressure on the NIA to include the voter’s ID card as a proof of Ghanaian citizenship for the issuance of the Ghana card, but the NIA is adamant.
Speaking at day two of the Ghana Economic Forum held in Accra, Bawumia called for an end to the resistance to the cards.
He stated that the card will enhance the digitization of the economy and will serve as an e-passport for ECOWAS travel among others.
“It will also be an e-passport for ECOWAS travel and soon the data for other identity cards such as the NHIS, SSNIT and so on can also be captured on the Ghana card. So once the mass registration begins we will encourage everybody to get theirs.”
The Vice President again said the National Identification card will help ease problems Ghanaians go through in acquiring passports.
“With the Ghana card for example, passport applications would become the easiest of applications because all the information that we require for the Ghana card is exactly the same information that they would require when you are applying for the passports. So we expect that by the end of next year when we’ve completed the issue of the cards, then all you would need to apply for your passports is just to give your national ID number,” he added.
Some NDC officials have even read political meanings into the decision by the NIA not to accept voter ID cards as a form of identification for the acquisition of the card.
Kufuor backs use of voter ID for Ghana Cards
However, former President John Agyekum Kufuor also backed calls for the National Identification Authority (NIA) to accept voters ID card as a proof of Ghanaian citizenship for the issuance of the Ghana card.
Speaking to journalists in Accra after he was registered, Mr. Kufuor said it is necessary for the voters ID card to be added as a form of identification.
“It should be added,” he said, explaining that “if voters ID card is not incorporated in this then when it comes to citizens going to make a government where would you be?”
“How would you say truly you also have power in your thumb to make or unmake a government? So voters ID card should be part of it,” he added.
Re-examine Ghana card concerns – Rawlings to NIA, others
Former President Jerry John Rawlings also asked various stakeholders including the National Identification Authority, the Minority and Majority caucuses in Parliament, to discuss concerns raised about the registration process for the Ghana card.
This, he believes will “bring sanity into our democratic process and ensure that all eligible Ghanaians benefit from the process.”