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17.03.2006 General News

National Identification Authority Bill passed


Accra, March 17, GNA - Parliament on Friday passed the National Identification Authority Bill, which would help Ghanaians to establish their personal identities and to transact business with both government and private entities.

It would also aid in development planning, human development and national security.

According to a memorandum accompanying the Bill signed by Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, Minister of Presidential Affairs, a national identification system that would provide a central database of individuals living in the country would be established.

He said the system would address issues of national concern and would help inter-connectivity between the national data centre, regional sites, some ministries, departments, agencies, national security agencies and private sector organisations.

It would also facilitate economic development by providing easy access to information for crime prevention, health, welfare services, disaster management and the delivery of other public services. Other areas to benefit are banking services; creation of credible voters register; social security; acquisition of passports and drivers' licences.

"Indeed, the multipurpose identity scheme will allow organisations linked to the national database to perform inter-related data collected on citizens and legally resident foreign nationals. The Bill when it becomes operational would establish a National Identification Authority to oversee the intentions of the Bill. Discussion on the issue of identification began during the Busia Administration in the early 1970s.

The Acheampong Regime promulgated the NRDC129 in 1972 that required citizens of Ghana aged 16 and above to be issued with cards. In 1973, national ID cards were issued to citizens in five boarder regions in the country including Volta, Northern, Upper, Brong Ahafo and parts of the Western Region.

The project was discontinued three years later due to lack of financial and logistic support.

In 1987, the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) revisited the idea of national identity card and has been on the minds of policy makers to this day.

The Bill now awaits Presidential Assent.