The Vice President, Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia has disclosed that 15.5 million Ghanaians have so far been registered on the Ghanacard by the National Identification Authority (NIA) by indicating that almost all the population will be enrolled by 2022.
Speaking at Ashesi University on the theme “Transforming An Economy Through Digitalization” on Tuesday, he explained that the NIA will open an additional 291 offices tomorrow across all districts and regions to complete the exercise.
He said the issuance of the Ghanacard has provided Ghana with a database that will be the anchor for all transactions in the future, providing a unique identity to all individuals.
“On coming into office, we moved quickly with the issuance of biometric national ID cards (The Ghanacard) to the population. The Ghanacard project was initiated by President Kufuor but abandoned for 8 years” he added.
The Vice President who has been spearheading the digitalization system currently ongoing explained that the card has world-class features. It captures 10 fingerprints as well as the iris of individuals.
He added that” It is also consistent with the ECOWAS standards and bears the ECOWAS logo. It is compatible with any reader which is compliant with EMV contactless communication protocol”.
On the issue of the Ghanacard, he explains that the identity of people (even dead people) can be established using their fingerprints.
“Ghanaians and other embassies abroad will be able to establish the identity of Ghanaians using their fingerprints. Identity can be established even without the Ghanacard as long as you have been enrolled on the database”.
Also, Individuals are empowered to exercise their rights and responsibilities fairly and equitably in modern society.
Dr. Bawumia added that ” Digital inclusion provides access to government services. Institutions like DVLA, Police, Banks, NHIA, Passport office, GRA, SSNIT, Telecom companies, will be able to verify the identity of anyone they are doing business with. It will make the targeting of government programs to the vulnerable and disadvantaged more effective”.
He said, “It is not widely known that the Ghanacard is also an electronic passport (e-passport) that contains the biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of travelers”.
He said Government have been working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) this year to globally activate the e-passport function of the Ghanacard, adding that ” I am happy to announce that on 13th October 2021, Ghana officially became the 79th member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Public Key Directory (PKD) community”.
He said ” The ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD) is a central repository for exchanging the information required to authenticate e-passports”.
The Vice President narrated further that ” PKD allows border control authorities to confirm in less than ten seconds that the e-passport was issued by the right authority, has not been altered, and is not a copy or cloned document. Ghana's Country Signing Certificate Authority would therefore soon be imported into the ICAO PKD System through what is known as a Key ceremony. The Key Ceremony for Ghana will be held at the ICAO headquarters in Montreal Canada hopefully by the 1st quarter of 2022″.
This means that the Ghanacard will be recognized as an e-passport and can be read and verified in all ICAO-compliant borders (in 197 countries and 44,000 airports in the world).
” When this happens, holders of the Ghanacard will be allowed to board any flight to Ghana. Furthermore, the good news for diasporan Ghanaians is that when the Ghana Immigration Service is linked to the NIA architecture diasporan Ghanaians who hold the Ghanacard should not have to obtain visas to travel to Ghana. We expect this to be operational by the end of the first quarter of next year. Ghana is one of the few countries in the world where the national ID card is also an passport” he indicated.
He concluded that the Ghanacard is also being linked with existing passports so that travel history will be preserved.
” The Ghanacard is already valid for travel to all ECOWAS countries. I should note that the national ID project was executed by the NIA in collaboration with a world-class Ghanaian private sector firm, (IMS) Margins. So proud of them” the Vice President indicated.