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11.04.2006 General News

National ID System should be devoid of politics


Accra April 11, GNA - Professor Ernest Dumor, Executive Secretary, National Identification Authority (NIA), on Tuesday said the National Identification System (NIS) should be seen as pre requisite for national transformation and be devoid of politics.

He said the NIS would not only facilitate national planning in sectors such as education, health, employment and infrastructure but also provide identification of individuals during voting, issuing of insurance and general national security purposes.

Prof. Dumor therefore urged all stakeholders and other relevant bodies to join forces with the NIA to come up with a single source of database on the entire populace.

NIS is a computerized registry that would keep information on all Ghanaian citizens living in and outside the country and legally resident foreigners.

Speaking at a day's orientation workshop on NIS for journalists in Accra, he said one of the key responsibilities of the NIS was to establish a National Data Centre that would be decentralized at all districts.

He said the NIA is collaborating with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to provide some support including the naming of streets an d house numbers to ensure the smooth take off by December 2007.

Prof Dumor said the government had made some financial commitments over the past three years for NIA's operations and was hopeful that within a five-year period all Ghanaians including those living abroad would have the National Identity Cards.

In order to prevent people from possessing more than one ID card, the NIA was putting in place an Automated Fingerprints Identification System where fingerprints of each person would march with one's face. He said the registration would cover children from six years and above, adding that the NIA was working on a national strategic communication tools to educate all on the exercise and uses of the National Identification Card.

The Executive Secretary stressed that information provided by all citizenry would be strictly protected adding, "these information collated would not be used against any person irrespective of tribe, religion or colour."

He said the NIS would also provide key transformational platform that would integrate and enhance public and sector service delivery. The professor noted that the National Identification Card was going to be free but the lost ones would attract a replacement fee. He reminded the public that there were regulations on the replacement of the national identity cards warning, "if you are found with two cards you will have to answer that."

Mr Chris Kwesi Biassey Bogrart, Communication Specialist, NIA, noted that the NIS was first introduced under the NRC Decree with the issuance of "the citizens ID card" along some boarder towns of the country. Mr Bogart explained that during the registration exercise, personal information including date of birth and signatures would be taken. "Finger prints and pictures taken would be fed into a computer while persons would be presented with card collection slips for the collection of the cards personally."

During registration, he said NIA would also make available mobile vans at various hospitals and prisons to register the occupants. Mr Bogart said the NIS would be integrated into the functions of various agencies to make their service more secured, reliable and readily accessible.

"The provision of credible addresses and accessibility to places also constitute challenges to the NIA," he added.