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07.03.2009 General News

NIA: We’re committed to mass registration exercise

By GNA

The National Identification Authority (NIA) said
on Friday that it remained committed to executing the remainder of the mass registration programme “with utmost integrity, professionalism and efficiency”.

It said the exercise would continue in the remaining seven regions, Volta, Greater Accra, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions in that order.

“Furthermore, the NIA is set to vigorously pursue other elements of the National Identification System, given the completion of the construction of the National Data Centre building and the acquisition of equipment for ID card production,” it said in a statement signed by Ms Bertha Dzeble, Head of Public Affairs.

Mobile registration workers of the NIA this week staged a protest march to demand payment of their allowances, which have been in arrears since late last year.

The NIA statement dismissed calls for the suspension of the programme as “unjustified, unwarranted and unnecessary,” saying such an action had many implications for the nation.

These include international obligations and timelines with its technical support providers, which would be jeopardised, and loss of experts assembles by the technical partners to train personnel in the use of various automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) equipment and consequential technology transfer.

NIA said it also risked losing a substantial number of the mobile registration workers to other institutions that carried out biometric data capture operations.

The NIA said for every month the field operations were delayed, each of the 1,521 temporary operators must be paid their all-inclusive allowance of GH¢450 per month.

It said since its inception, external auditors from the Auditor-General's Department had carried out annual audits into its operations and none of these reports had found any irregularities in its procurement activities.

“Procurement of goods and the payment of allowances are two separate activities funded from different accounts. Payments for procured goods are made from the investment vote; allowances on the other hand are paid from the service vote,” it said

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