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The Ghana ‘Green card’ – A game changer

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 Source: Daniel Baah

“GOD BLESS OUR HOME LAND GHANA AND MAKE OUR NATION GREAT AND STRONG”…

There is no doubt that the euphoria that characterized last year’s election was a harbinger of greater things to happen to our nation Ghana. While I would try as much as possible to remain politically neutral as an up and coming writer, let me use this medium to congratulate the government and all Ghanaians for their support for the NPP administration.

Indeed you have proven that when given a formidable team to manage the economy, the citizenry would not sit on the fence nor become wet blankets towards national development. Paramount among the good things happening in our country is the significant step taken by the Akufo-Addo administration to relieve the burden and headache on Ghanaian parents as far as SHS admissions are concerned- the free SHS for all Ghanaians.

As matter of fact, coming from a low income family, I could relate to the rhapsody of joy in our parents when the regime announced this package. My parents would borrow from all sources to pay my fees and that of sibblings at the SHS level which at times meant going on hunger strike for the coming weeks.

The joy from the free SHS, however, overshadowed another back-to-back achievement of a campaign promise with the launching of the new Ghana card or the “Ghana green card” as some chooses to call it. In my opinion, this initiative should also be given the necessary support as it could be the panacea to the numerous social issues confronting mother Ghana. In this article, I would highlight few positive impacts that the new Ghana card could have on the Ghanaian economy and society especially in areas like crime combat, Data collection, research, immigration, demography, and development.

Crime is concomitant to social interactions and as we are striving to advance as a nation, we would be bedeviled with this canker now or at some point. Already issues of galamsay, the proliferation of arms, human trafficking and corruption are taking a toll on us as a nation. This new card could help keep track of who-enters and leave our country, identity thefts, house address systems and even corruption.

We should strive as much as possible to not make this card anything ordinary but rather each card should be linked to a template which would provide diverse information on the card holder. When this is achieved, the Police would not only need to rely on tip-offs from citizens to fight crime but could consult a centralized data system to track criminal footprints for arrest. Citizens would be cautious in their dealings especially with monetary transactions which means ensuring fiscal vigilance.

Prudent data management system is the secret to development of the World’s super powers. Have you ever asked why these countries spend fortunes to weed out illegal immigrants? Because being illegal means no information about you, No SSN, No bank account and more often illegals are inclined to commit crimes knowing they can never be traced.

As a scientist, I wouldn’t downplay the importance of data to research and industrialization. This card if planned and implemented properly could inform researchers about geopolitical and localized issues which need to be addressed. In addition, allocated government funds would be utilized judiciously knowing that the right amount is reaching the right demographics. Developmental projects would not be skewed nor be implemented based political affiliations but rather based on information retrieved from data.

Some major data we lack as a nation are house address systems and household income distributions. With the advent of more sophiscated technologies like the ARCGIS and ARCMAP, we could merge data on residential areas and income distribution when cards are linked with Social security numbers which could be a step towards fighting poverty. Have you ever tried getting directions or reaching a destination in Ghana? It can be frustrating right? All these issues can be addressed if we sturdily build our data management and information retrieval systems. Even as we thirst for E-voting systems to ensure free and fair elections, amassing enough population data should be the genesis to achieving this feat.

I could go on and on but inclusion, we stand to achieve a lot if the Ghana card is implemented with foresight into the future and just not just a national ID. On this note, I urge all stakeholders like the EC, statistical service, urban planning, and security services to join efforts to use this medium to develop a solid template for all inclusive data which would serve multi purposes and save Ghana a lot of money in the future. We may not start perfectly but there is always room for an overhaul.

We shall overcome LONG LIVE GHANA, LONG LIVE AFRICA.

Columnist: Daniel Baah