The eventual take-off of the registration for and issuance of the Ghana Card to Ghanaians last Monday, after its abortive start on May 28, is welcome news, indeed.
In spite of all the arguments that have been made against the new national identity card, we believe that following through with its successful issuance will bode well for the country.
This is especially so because the Ghana Card is designed to replace the sectoral identity cards in circulation and become the only card to be used in transactions where identification is required, as provided by law.
The Daily Graphic is hopeful that all the technical challenges that were encountered when the process started have been rectified completely to ensure that every Ghanaian who registers successfully will obtain the card, just as presidential staffers and the first 500 people to be registered.
According to the schedule by the National Identification Authority (NIA), staffers at Parliament, the Judicial Service and the security agencies were part of the first beneficiaries of the registration, after which it would move into the regions, starting with the Greater Accra, where it would spend three months on the exercise.
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While we laud that initial plan of the NIA, we wish to urge the authority not to delay in the release and publication of its roll-out strategy in detail for everyone to get the opportunity to determine where he or she will have to register.
The Daily Graphic believes that if the plan is released in time, it will put paid to all forms of conjecture and perceptions in the public domain about the exercise.
An early announcement of the schedule for the registration exercise will also strengthen the weakened trust in the system and in the NIA’s capability to successfully carry out the exercise.
Our call is also premised on the NIA’s aim to register all Ghanaian citizens in Ghana within a year and also use approximately six months after the commencement of the national exercise in Ghana to start the registration of Ghanaians in the Diaspora.
While we believe that the NIA is a human institution and so is not immune to more challenges as it expands registration across the country, we ask that it reduces hiccups to the barest minimum by being proactive in addressing those challenges immediately they occur on the field.
The field officers need adequate orientation to ensure that they are in control all the time to forestall any more hold ups.
In order for the plan of the NIA to move to the Volta Region after Greater Accra and then subsequently to the Northern, Upper East and Upper West and then the Brong Ahafo regions, nothing must be made to delay the process.
Apart from the Greater Accra and the Ashanti regions where the registration teams will spend three and two months, respectively, they will spend one month in each of the regions, which is the more reason challenges must be tackled head-on in order not to delay the process.
Otherwise the Ashanti, Eastern, Central and Western regions may have to wait for so long to take their turns.
Most important, we urge the NIA to facilitate intensive education and sensitisation of all citizens before they take their turn to register.