The New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration will begin issuing multi-purpose National Identification cards from June this year, the Minister for Communications, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has hinted.
There has been so much talk about the issue of national ID cards but very little effective action or results have been achieved even though reports indicate about $50 million has been spent on the project since 2009.
However, Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said the Akufo-Addo led NPP administration is desirous of fully implementing the project within the first year as captured in the governing party’s manifesto.
This, she added, will be in fulfillment of NPP’s long-held campaign promise to build a database of Ghanaians and other nationals resident in Ghana to among others, help generate enough revenue for the country.
Speaking at a thank you gathering for members of the Transition Team on Communications Friday evening, the Communications Minister said the Legal, Technical, Financial committees constituted to shepherd the project have almost committed their work for issuance of the National ID cards to commence in June.
“We are working hard to start issuing the National ID cards in June and by the end of the first year of the Akufo-Addo administration, if we have not completed the whole process, at least much of the work would have been done,” Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful noted.
According to her, this is a completely new process and that the national ID cards issued to some persons will only be valid for the purposes of getting their data, which was already captured on a data base.
Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful is convinced that the National ID scheme will help formalize the economy and rake in revenue for government through the establishment of a national database with the National Identification System as the primary source.
The National ID System, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful explained, will have linkages to the databases of institutions such as the Police, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Passport Office, Immigration Service, Courts, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).
She added that it will also help curb traffic offences on the roads, track health care of citizens, issue drivers licenses, and passports linked to digital identity registry.
It will also help eliminate ghost names from the civil service payroll, and reduce cost of maintaining multiple Identity databases.
Among those who attended the gathering were Mr. O. B. Amoah, the MP for Akuapem South and Deputy Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development; Dr. Omane Boamah, former Minister for Communications; Mr. Ato Sarpong, former Deputy Minister Communications.
Others were Joseph Anokye, acting Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA); George Andah, MP for Awutu Senya West and Deputy Minister-designate for Communications; Mr. Kweku Tadi, Director of Finance and Administration at the Ministry of Communications; Vincent Odotei Sowah, MP for La Dadekotopon and Deputy Minister-designate for Communications as well as heads of all the agencies under the Communications Ministry.