Dafeamekpor urges NIA to distribute Ghana Card
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, has urged the National Identification Authority (NIA) to, as a matter of urgency, distribute all printed cards in their custody to Ghanaians who have registered to obtain the National Identification Cards (Ghana Card).
He said such distribution had become necessary following the announcement by the Electoral Commission (EC) on August 17, 2023 to begin a limited voter registration exercise from September 12 to October 2, 2023, ahead of the District Assembly Level Election, so as to give opportunity to those 18 years and above to register to vote.
In a statement issued and signed last Friday, Mr Dafeamekpor said the EC, as means of identification for one’s eligibility to be entered onto the register, required one to provide the Ghana Card, a passport or where those means were not available, two registered voters to serve as guarantors.
“In view of this upcoming exercise, the NIA, the body mandated by law to capture, register, store and produce the Ghana Card to all citizens, must, as a matter of urgency, distribute all printed cards in their custody to Ghanaians who have registered to obtain the card” he said.
Mr Dafeamekpor recalled that in March this year, the NIA said it had some 640,000 printed Ghana Cards in its custody across the country which the owners were yet to receive.
He said by the end of the same month — March 2023 — the NIA announced again to the general public that they were able to clear and printed backlogs of some 541,529 cards.
That, he said, was in fulfilment of a promise the authority made to Parliament earlier.
“The NIA, subsequent to the printing, announced measures to ensure the distribution of the printed cards to their regional and district offices for collection.
However, checks have revealed that a significant number of these cards are yet to be distributed to their owners.
“In addition to the call for the authority to distribute the printed cards, I want to urge the NIA to prioritise the execution of their ordinary line of business by providing ordinary services to individuals who are eligible to be registered rather than focusing primarily on the provision of priority services commenced in December 2019 which was expanded in June this year, at a cost of GH¢280,” he said.
State bearing cost
Mr Dafeamekpor indicated that the printing and distribution of Ghana Cards was originally budgeted and catered for by the state at huge costs and expected to be done at no extra cost to any citizen.
He said premium registration services, which was supposed to be outside of the norm, could not and must not become the norm, especially at a time when issues of the exercise of peoples’ inalienable rights to vote depended partly on their ascertaining the services of the NIA in obtaining their Ghana Cards.
“This emanates from the significant role that the NIA cards would play to enable a smooth registration process for the purpose of registering voters ahead of the district assembly elections,” he added.