The Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), has stated that there is no justifiable reason, why the Ghana Card, cannot be used for the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections in December 2024, noting that it will be a tragedy, if it is not so used.
“Speaking for myself, I think it will be a tragedy if we do not (use the “Ghana Card” for election 2024). There is no reasonable basis in my view for that not to happen” Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, said.
Emphasizing on why he is fully persuaded that the “Ghana Card” can be used for election 2024, Prof. Attafuah said the “NIA has registered 17.3 million of a projected 19 million people”.
“17.3 million of a population 15 years and above, so that those who are going to fall into the category of people eligible to register and vote by age 18, a lot of them have already been captured.
According to the NIA boss, the amount of work done by the Authority and the number of Ghanaians issued with “Ghana Cards” clearly demonstrates that the card can and ought to be used for the upcoming national elections as well as future elections.
The use of the “Ghana Card” in any way, shape or form in the 2024 elections has become a contentious issue with members of the minority caucus in Parliament vowing to oppose any legislation brought to the house by the Electoral Commission (EC).
Prof. Attafuah, made this known when he addressed journalists at a press soirée organized by the Authority at its offices in Accra on Friday November 18, 2022.
“We still have a certain margin of approximately 2 million. Those 2 million people who have not registered, if they desire to register, there is no reason why they cannot be registered within a maximum of 6 months and we are talking 2024, (some two clear years) to the day the electoral commission would say we are closing the registration” Professor Attafuah said.
The NIA leader, further indicated that because the NIA’s registration process “is a continues registration throughout our dear nation, with 292 registration centres available” across the country, there is no impediment that can constraint the Authority from fulfilling its mandate to the Ghanaian people in order to allow the “Ghana Card” to be used for the next (2024) and future elections.
“NIA has shown the capacity to open additional registration points and if it becomes necessary and warranted, those are measures that NIA will re-introduce. But from our calculation and from the numbers that remain, such a move will be completely unnecessary.
“I want to assure you (the journalists present) and the entire “nation that if the Electoral Commission decides, if Parliament grants the Electoral Commission’s wish and gives it the go ahead to use the “Ghana Card”, NIA is poised to give cards to those who’s cards are printed and are staying in backlog and to register and issue cards to those who have not yet registered for “Ghana Card” Professor Attafuah said.
“There is ample time, there is solid technical expertise or competence and there is the leadership and the will. It is a matter of that those who have not gotten it will get it (“Ghana Card”) and they will get it (“Ghana Card”) way ahead of EC’s own timelines” he added.
The registration of Ghanaians living abroad according to Professor Attafuah, is also expected to commence in the year 2023. The exercise, he noted, will be carried out by staff of Ghana’s missions in the various countries where Ghana has diplomatic presence.
Using the staff of Ghana’s missions abroad is a statutory requirement and the NIA is committed to observing it fully, the NIA boss indicated.
“The registration of Ghanaians abroad comes as a fee to them. Ghanaians in the West African sub-region, will paid the equivalent of $30.00 while Ghanaians in the rest of Africa will pay a fee slightly lower than that to be paid by Ghanaians living in Euro-American countries.
“Ghanaians in the Euro-American countries are required to pay the equivalent of $50.00 United States dollars of the country in which they live. It is part of the revenue model that underpins this whole Public – Private partnership arrangement with Identify Management Systems Limited” the NIA’s Executive Secretary noted.
“It is part of the reason why we are able to give the Ghana Card to every Ghanaian living in Ghana for free but every Ghanaian living outside Ghana has to pay for that (the “Ghana Card”)” Professor Attafuah added.
In his presentation, Professor Attafuah, announced that the NIA will commence the registration of all refugees in Ghana from Saturday November 19, 2022.
He indicated that the pilot registration is targeting about one hundred refugees but ultimately, the NIA is liaising with the Ghana Refugees Board (GRB) to ensure that the exercise will continue smoothly and that only eligible refugees living legally in Ghana get into the NIA’s database.