President Nana Akufo-Addo has rubbished claims that his government is seeking to use the Ghana Card to disenfranchise some Ghanaians, particularly those from the voter region.
Rejecting the claims of some leaders and MPs of the National Democratic Congress, the President said it was unfortunate that Ghana has not been able to have its own national identification card for the past eight years.
He indicated that the National Identification Authority is only implementing a law passed by parliament.
“NIA has not refused anything other than what Parliament passed. The legislation that is insisting on passports and birth certificates is not the work of NIA; it is the work of Parliament. It is the law passed by Parliament. So, statements that the NIA is deliberately refusing this or that is unfortunate. It means the person or those who are saying this are not familiar with the legal situation,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said this on Monday when he commissioned the Anlo Shopping Centre as part of his three-day tour of the Volta Region.
According to the President, he has “no interest in disenfranchising any Ghanaian”.
“The card is meant for Ghanaians, and that is why Parliament, with the full support of both sides of the House… supported the new law that is being applied by the NIA. So, it is unfortunate that some people are approving and disapproving their own work,” he added
For him, there is no justification whatsoever for anyone, let alone Minority MPs, to “come back and then say these particular people are doing this to disenfranchise x, y or z persons. We are not disenfranchising anybody.
“If you don’t have a birth certificate, passport, all you have to do is to produce a Ghanaian to vouch for you, and you get your card,” he added.
The Ghana Card, the President stressed, is needed for “our planning and for the organization of our state”, assuring that “by the grace of God, it (the issuance of the NIA cards) will be completed in Akufo-Addo’s time.”
With just 18 months in office, President Akufo-Addo said all the programmes and policies he has implemented has affected and benefitted Ghanaians from every part of the country.
The first year of the implementation of the Free SHS programme, he said, is ensuring that, for the 2018/2019 academic year, 180,000 more students will be beneficiaries of the Free SHS programme. This, he said, would mean the recruitment of 4,000 more teachers.
“I am determined that every single child in this country, no matter where they are from, no matter whether their father has money or not, will go to school, at least to secondary school level,” he added.
I am commissioning Ghanaian projects
While acknowledging that phase one of the newly commissioned Anlo Shopping Mall was began and completed in the NDC era, President Akufo-Addo noted that phase two of the Anlo shopping centre was started and completed under his administration.
“Togbe, if you remember, when we were campaigning, I said that if, by the grace of God, the Ghanaian people were to give me their confidence, and I was to come in, I will make sure that whatever was started by my predecessor, I will complete it. That is exactly what is happening here today,” he added
The President stressed that “I am not stealing NDC policies, I am completing Ghanaian projects. And, it is the same way that we are going to complete the Keta Sea Defence wall.”
With contractors having abandoned the site for the construction of the sea defence wall, he assured that “active negotiations are going on to pay the contractors so they can come back, and, very soon, you will see that it will start again.”
The same, he said, goes for the Keta Harbour.
“The pledge we made to develop several harbours along the coast, including the Keta Harbour, we will make that a reality,” President Akufo-Addo reassured.