The much-anticipated national identity card (Ghana Card) registration process in the Greater Accra Region did not start at the advertised centres yesterday as a result of data connectivity challenges.
Accordingly, the NIA has said it will make an announcement as soon as it is certain that the problem has been resolved.
The Executive Secretary of the NIA, Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah, who made this known, said it was impossible to indicate when the exercise would start as of now and that technical personnel had been working on the problem [internet connectivity] since Sunday night and were hoping to start on Monday but the situation was not resolved.
“We apologise to Ghanaians and especially those institutions that we had indicated we will commence the registration exercise, the security agencies, the judicial service and the Jubilee House. This is a very unfortunate situation we have had to grapple with...it is a technical glitch,” Prof. Attafuah said.
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Prof. Attafuah said the NIA was still within the period that it hoped to register those in the security agencies until June 10 and that what was disconcerting as of now was the inability to pin down a date, or a time to start.
Explaining further, Prof. Attafuah said, “At the time I made the announcement last week [that it was starting May 28], I was absolute and categorical because I was certain that all the outstanding issues that had hitherto prevented us from getting out and doing the registration had been addressed but we had significant connectivity issues and because this is a live issuance of cards, you need to be sure of data connectivity.”
He clarified that more than three months ago they had mapped out all those posts which had data connectivity and therefore “we were sure where we would place our printers so as to ensure instant printing but here at the headquarters, the connection to the field, anytime we had attempted, we have had problems beginning Saturday and so this morning when we should have rolled out, our pick-up trucks were packed with registration materials, everything was ready but we couldn’t step out and all our engineers, top notch engineers from NIA, and from the private partner.”
When the Daily Graphic visited the National Identification Authority (NIA) around 2 p.m. yesterday to monitor the situation, scores of registration officers were still being registered before they could be deployed to the various centres.
Indications were that the registration officers would themselves have to be registered before they could register others and that a challenge with Internet connectivity had slowed down the registration process, thereby making it impossible to deploy the team on time.
Institutions whose staff are expected to be captured in the next nine days are the Presidency, the Judicial Service, the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana National Fire Service, the Police Service, the Ghana Prisons Service, the Ministry of Defence, the Bureau of National Investigations and the National Security Secretariat.
Apprising the Daily Graphic on the situation, the Corporate Affairs Manager at the NIA, Mr Francis Palmdeti, said 150 registration officers were being deployed to those institutions to capture the security personnel, 450 would be deployed in the Greater Accra Region for the regional exercise and 2,500 registration officers for the rest of the regions.
Mr Palmdeti expressed optimism that in spite of the late start of the registration in the Greater Accra Region, the exercise would be successful, with the assurance that Ghana cards would be issued to all persons captured on the system.
The national identification card, otherwise known as the Ghana Card, is meant to be the primary identity card that citizens will use to access all services in the country, including travelling within the West African sub-region.
Essence of the card
The Ghana Card is expected 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 National Identity Register (Amendment) Bill, 2017 has done away with using voters identity cards, driving licences and baptismal certificates as proof of citizenship but maintains the use of birth certificates and passports.
The act further introduces residence permits and other documents covering acquired citizenship.
There are provisions in the act that enables persons who do not have birth certificates or passports to register for a Ghana Card, but the identity of such applicants would have to be vouched by two relatives or two non-relatives to be determined by the NIA.
From the Greater Accra Region, the registration team will move to the Volta Region, followed by the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Brong Ahafo, Western, Ashanti, Eastern and Central regions.