Government has begun the process of implementing a comprehensive national identification project, in fulfillment of a long-held campaign pledge of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to build a database of Ghanaians and other nationals resident in Ghana.
At a broad consultative meeting chaired by Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Wednesday, January 25, all the major stakeholders including the Births and Deaths Registry (BDR), National Identification Authority (NIA), Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Ghana Revenue Authority and National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) underscored the need to have a single national database to aid policy planning and implementation.
Also in attendance were officials from the Ministry of Finance, Minister-designate for Communications, Mrs. Ursula Owusu Ekuful, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Electoral Commission (EC), Driver Vehicle and Licence Authority (DVLA), Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GHIPSS) and industry experts.
The National Identification Project is expected to be completed within the first year of the NPP administration in fulfillment of a manifesto pledge to complete the registration of all residents in Ghana under the National Identification Scheme, thereby establishing an integrated Data Warehouse of databases from key public institutions, using the National Identification System as the unique identifier for data items, and automating the processes involved in accessing public services at both national and local government offices.
The NPP government is convinced the National ID scheme would help formalize the economy through the establishment of a national database, using the National Identification System as the primary identifier, with linkages to the databases of institutions such as the Police, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Passport Office, Immigration, Courts, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA)
Addressing the representatives of the key stakeholders, Vice President Bawumia noted that there has been too much talk around the issue of national ID cards but very little effective action or results even though $50 million has been spent on the project since 2009.
A single national ID system would, amongst others, track immunization of children and health care of citizens, issue drivers licenses and passports linked to digital identity registry, eliminate ghost names from the civil service payroll, and reduce cost of maintaining multiple Identity databases.
The Vice President stated that four Committees – Legal, Technical, Financial and Oversight – is to shepherd the project.