Development everywhere has never occurred in a vacuum; it has happened because of well thought-out programmes and policies that have consciously been followed.
The Asian Tigers, for example, used savings, public investment, exports, labour market competition and government interventions from 1981 to 2005 to reach where they are today.
In the USA, high capital and technological investment have been the launch pad to economic growth. There are other strategies around the world that prove that development can happen when it is well planned and executed with commitment from leadership.
Although Ghana has achieved some successes in its socio-economic development since independence, it is an undeniable fact that much more remains to be done. An appreciable number of the citizens live below the poverty line, many people lack access to potable water, a sizeable portion of the population live in areas where the road network is bad, while schoolchildren in some parts of the country lie on their stomachs in class to write.
The development challenges are many, with a wide dichotomy between available infrastructure and what is needed to meet internationally approved indicators of development, in spite of our lower middle-income status.
But we know that in this day and age, any policy decision that will have an impact on development should be based on well-grounded facts. It is for this, among other things, that nations are migrating to the use of biometric data identification, which is a medium through which development can be speeded up.
No country can develop without a strong security system. The rise in terrorism and international crime has led to countries adopting biometric technology to guarantee the safety of their citizens. This is what has made it urgent and expedient for Ghana too to adopt the technology as an identity solution for national security protocols to identify citizens and travellers.
Evidence from countries where biometric-based identification cards have been issued attests to the fact that the cards can also be used as smartcards for purposes such as the distribution of government services and social security benefits. They can also be used to generate electronic passports, voter identity document, border security credential and identification for health care and welfare service distribution.
The Daily Graphic commends the government for the work it has done so far to roll out the Ghana Cards. It is known that the biometric cards are difficult to counterfeit due to their sophisticated nature. The issuance of biometric national identification cards with one central biometric database will help save the cost of issuing different identification cards for different programmes, as the ID card can be leveraged for different purposes.
As mentioned by the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority, Prof. Ken Agyeman Attafuah, the card will replace other sectoral identity cards to become the only card to be used in transactions in which identification is required.
In fact, the advantages associated with the biometric card are too numerous to mention. As the nation prepares to join countries with biometric identification, we ask all citizens to go in their numbers to register when registration opens on Monday, May 28, 2018.
We also urge registrants to give accurate information, as the precision of the dates provided will drive policy choices and strategic decisions, both in the public and the private domains, to drive the development of the country.
We further appeal to the NIA to run sustained education on the exercise for the citizenry to be kept abreast of their responsibility to make the registration a success.