Staff of the National Identification Authority (NIA) are playing games with the ongoing registration exercise and creating avenues for themselves to extort money from members of the public.
The exercise, requires that a birth certificate or a current passport is submitted by patrons to get registered, but interestingly, a third procedure which is having a guarantor to vouch for one’s citizenship as a Ghanaian, is never mentioned by most officials of the NIA.
However, those who are not familiar with it, are made to cough up various sums of money on the claim that the document bearing the name “Oath of identification form- Regulation 3A” is a protocol arrangement not meant for everyone.
Patrons are, therefore, turned away or sacked from the centers after long hours of queuing to be registered, because he or she has neither passport nor a birth certificate to go through the process.
They are told to go, get a passport or a valid birth certificate done to come back and go through the process in which the patrons, particularly public service workers, have been threatened by the government that, they would be forfeiting their salaries for not registering with the NIA.
Indeed, a deadline has been given to merge NIA numbers with other means of identification, especially the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) numbers and Tax Identification Numbers (TIN).
The fear and panic of losing one’s salaries and other benefits, thus forces patrons to pay the NIA workers to have the guarantor system activated.
Aside from the naked extortion, the NIA workers, have concerns of their own, complaining about the poor machines they have been deployed with to capture the data, saying they are only able to enter the details of 15 people per day.
They talk about how the machines freeze for a long time and had to be restarted many times to enable them continue the registration process; saying the process is frustrating and tiring.
Some also talked about how colleagues, had been deployed to some remote parts of the country for a week, but ended up staying for three weeks or more, because the machines were not working well.
They also lamented about the labourious data entering system where they had to pen down details of patrons on hard paper before transferring same into the computer hence the unnecessary delays witnessed at the various centers.
Some singled out the NIA boss, Kenneth Agyeman Attafuah, saying he is not listening to anyone, but himself.
They felt the system and processes are not meeting the required timelines and something must be done about it, but he is not listening.
There are also reports that many centers in the regional capitals, have lots of NIA workers who are idling and could be used to enter data, but management is not ready to hear about this and make the necessary adjustments.
In their estimation, if the current situation persists, the NIA registration will take forever.
The management of SSNIT has meanwhile announced that over one million workers in its database as contributors have merged their SSNIT numbers with their Ghana card numbers.
However, some Ghanaians are yet to do the merger and, therefore, Charles Garshong, Acting Public Affairs Manager of SSNIT, has called on all contributors who have not yet merged their numbers to do so before the 31 December 2021 deadline.
The merger, according to Mr Garshong, is to consolidate the government’s effort at using the Ghana card for all transactions.
The SSNIT card will be obsolete, as the Ghana card number replaces it, once the merger is successful.
“If we can use one card for everything, why have two? The SSNIT card is to identify you but if the Ghana card is for the same purpose, we decided to merge the numbers. Why carry two cards when one card can serve both purposes?” Mr Gershong asked on the Ghana Yensom show on Accra100.5FM on Monday, 20 December 2021.
Talking about the advantages of the merger, Mr Garshong noted that it is for convenience, since only the Ghana card number is required to transact business with SSNIT.
“You save the stress of carrying many national IDs everywhere you go, it helps with easy identification of nominated dependents and you’ll save money because there’s no payment for SSNIT cards anymore,” he stated.
The merger began in June this year.
Below are the steps for the merger:
1. First Dial *711*9# on your mobile phone.
2. Then Select option 1.
3. Afterwards, enter your SSNIT number.
4. Then enter your Ghana card number without the hyphen and press send (E.g. GHA870000005)
5. Then select option 1 to finalise the merger of your SSNIT number and Ghana card (NIA) number.
1. Log onto the SSNIT website https://www.ssnit.org.gh and click the ‘My Statement’.
2. Log in by filling the required fields and click Sign In. (Click on Get Access if you don’t have an account or click on Forgot Password if you have forgotten your password then sign in).
3. At the My Statement page, click on Merge my NIA Number.
4. Agree to the terms and conditions and click Submit and Continue.
5. Enter your NIA Number (Personal ID Number on the Ghana Card) and click Submit. You will receive a notification after the merger.
Persons who are unable to merge their numbers have been urged to call 0302611622 or WhatsApp 0500003050 for assistance.