The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has received his National Identification Card, dubbed the new “Ghana Card”, at a ceremony held at the premises of the National Identification Authority, on Friday, September 15, 2017.According to President Akufo-Addo, the new identification card signals the dawn of a new day in biometric identity management in Ghana, and the virtues of a public-private partnership arrangement in meeting the country’s development needs.
The President indicated that the launch of the card “constitutes a practical demonstration of the fulfilment of yet another promise of my party, the New Patriotic Party, made during the 2016 campaign.”
The campaign promise, he recounted, was that “we would modernise and formalise the Ghanaian economy through the establishment of a credible national database, and using the National Identification System (NIS) as the primary identifier, as prescribed by law.”
Despite several years of demonstrated inability to do so, the National Identification Authority (NIA), under the tenure of an NPP administration, the President said, is about to commence the registration and instant issuance of national identity cards to all Ghanaian citizens, both at home and abroad, as by law prescribed.
“My presence at today’s event, together with the Vice President of the Republic highlights the seriousness to which my government attaches to the National Identification System project,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He continued, “With my fullest endorsement, Vice President Alhaji Bawumia has ably spearheaded the technical and legal processes that have enabled the Government to decide how to proceed with the goal of achieving a National e-ID system for Ghana, which is beyond needless controversy and polemics.”
President Akufo-Addo bemoaned the proliferation of biometric systems by other government agencies that are mandated by law to access information from the National Identity Register.
Assigning the collection and custody of biometric traits to a single institution, he explained, “is safer and in line with current trends. By statute, the NIA is under obligation to ensure the accuracy, integrity, confidentiality and security of data it collects.”
Advantages of the card
President Akufo-Addo noted that the new Ghana Card is a great improvement over the previous one, and meets all international standards required of such identity documents.
“For example, the national identity card has been enhanced to take advantage of new technologies such as tactile elements for the blind, chip embedding technology and iris capabilities in addition to taking all 10 fingerprints of an applicant,” he said.
Additionally, with a 128 kilobyte capacity, the Ghana Card will enable other stakeholders to run their applications on the national identity card. Ultimately, the card would replace the sectorial identity cards in circulation, and shall be the only card to be used in transactions where identification is required as provided by law.
“This registration exercise is also unique in the sense that it would involve the registration of ages 0-5. This is a historic opportunity for us to sanitize and rationalize birth certification in Ghana and ensure social inclusion right from birth,” President Akufo-Addo said.
Whilst congratulating Identity Management Systems Ltd (IMS), who are partnering with NIA to ensure the efficient roll-out of the NIS Project, the President reiterated the commitment of his government to supporting and enhancing the capacity of Ghanaian companies and businesses to be the giants in their respective areas of operation.
President Akufo-Addo reminded the stakeholders to ensure the integrity, security and confidentiality of identity data collected.
“It is important that the data collected is made available only to persons or institutions authorized by law to access the data and used only for the purposes for which the data was collected,” he added.