According to the National Identification Authority (NIA), the government owes the Authority roughly $80 million in unpaid arrears for the creation of Ghana Cards.
Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, the Executive Secretary of the Authority, claims that the government has not fully resolved these unpaid balances.
Due to the government’s inability to pay its bills, several of NIA’s partners, notably Identity Management Systems, withheld more than 3.5 million cards at the beginning of this year.
The issuance of these cards was made possible by the Finance Minister’s payment of 100 million cedis, but the registration procedure is now in jeopardy due to debt buildup, including interest, during the previous six months.
This led Prof. Attafuah to emphasize, “The government of Ghana owes us approximately $80 million, and this is still in USD, so it’s a significant sum of money that the government needs to pay.”
He also mentioned that the debt had been roughly $90 million at first, but had grown because of more arrears that were a result of a government support deal.
“Government of Ghana was so convinced about the viability of this project and it is still extremely viable that it undertook to basically underwrite any revenues that should have gone to the private partner for any given month if the project doesn’t generate revenue,” he said.
In preparation for the general election in 2024, the Electoral Commission (EC) is also organizing a massive voter registration drive for the following year.
One proposed Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) aims to make the Ghana Card the only accepted form of identity.
Prof. Attafuah claimed that the NIA has trustworthy data that can help the EC carry out a reliable registration procedure in this regard.
He explained, “With a click of a button, NIA can provide that data to EC. There’s no debate about that. The technical systems and arrangements required for this have all been agreed upon, so there’s no issue. We’ve successfully collaborated with SSNIT, NHIA, Controller, and numerous other institutions without any problems.”
Additionally, the Executive Secretary of NIA disclosed that after a successful pilot program, the Authority will start distributing Ghana Cards to newborn newborns in partnership with the Births and Deaths Registry.
He said that in order to link birth certificates to Ghana Cards, the Births and Deaths Registry assigns each newborn a special serial number at the time of birth.
Prof. Attafuah made it clear that the goal of this endeavor is to end the debates over citizenship, age, and identity management difficulties in Ghana.
“We’ll be protecting the boundaries, policing the boundaries of Ghanaian citizenship. We will evade forever the issues of age,” he said.