Capping on IGF undermines operations — Births and Deaths Registry
The Births and Deaths Registry (BDR) has described the retention of 33 per cent of its internally generated funds (IGF) as a major financial constraint undermining its operations across the country.
The registry said per the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 2020 (Act 1027), there was an allocation of 50 per cent of IGF for its operations.
“But because of the Ministry of Finance, there is a capping of whatever we generate, and we are able to retain only 33 per cent of what we generate from late registration, verification and other activities,” it said.
In a presentation at a meeting with the members of the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development of Parliament at its head office in Accra last Thursday, the acting Registrar of Births and Deaths, Henrietta Lamptey, said “Unfortunately, the registration of births from zero to 12 months is free of charge.”
“Now, the focus is to get every child born in Ghana registered and so, the more we focus on this registration, the lesser revenue we can generate,” she said.
The committee, led by its chairman, Emmanuel Akwasi Gyamfi, paid a working visit to the office to allow its members to ascertain the challenges facing the registry and the progress it had made since its relocation to the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana House at Shiashie and the Institute of Local Governance Service at Madina in Accra.
UNICEF Ghana supported BDR to digitise its early child registration process in 2009, thus every records of zero to 12 months captured since 2009 have been digitised.
Mrs Lamptey said over 24 million hardcopy records of the registry were yet to be digitised into the system.
With such support, the registry had targeted three regions — Eastern, Bono East and Ahafo — to implement an exercise to capture more data on births and deaths.
She told the committee that until June 2022, the registry was confined in wooden structures by the sea in Accra, where its operations were hampered by many factors.
However, through the efforts of the local government minister, the registry was allocated the third floor of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana and the Institute of Local Government at Madina, where it had its administrative and information and communication (ICT) infrastructure offices (records keeping and searching books) respectively.
In a bid to enhance its operations, the registrar said her outfit had entered into strategic partnerships over the years to support and implement some key activities.
For instance, she said the World Bank was supporting the implementation of the public sector reforms for resource projects, harmonising and improving statistics for West Africa.
“Under this, we have made progress with some of the targets that were given to the registry and one of them is the development of a website because we want to go digital to allow people to access our online platform,” she said.
Mrs Lamptey indicated that the registry had been operating with different silo ICT systems over the years, but with support from the public sector reforms for resource project, those systems would be harmonised to become one.
“We hope that we will have a robust interface because we are now trying to integrate with key agencies such as the National Identification Authority and the Ghana Health Service just as we are having the manual backup to promote interoperable operations,” she said.
With low recording of deaths in most communities, she said the registry had been engaging heads of religious bodies, mortuaries and funerals facility agencies and others to bolster birth and death registrations.
“We are saying that before you officiate over the burial of any individual, you demand the certification on death,” he said.