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The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, has stated that the rollout of the National Identification Card, dubbed the “GhanaCard”, signals a new era in biometric identity management in Ghana and brings to an end the proliferation of biometric systems by other government agencies that are mandated by law to access information from the National Identity Register.
The GhanaCard will, thus, be the only valid form of identification when the issuance is completed in a year.
The GhanaCard, a valid verification document, deploys cutting-edge technology that incorporates several layers of security features of most advanced Electronic Identity Documents, thus solidifying the country’s evolution into the digital world.
Additionally, the national identity card has been enhanced to take advantage of new technologies such as tactile elements for the blind, chip embedding technology and iris capabilities, in addition to taking all 10 fingerprints of an applicant.
The rollout of the GhanaCard is a collaboration between the National Identification Authority (NIA) and the Identity Management Systems (IMS), a subsidiary of the Margins Group, an indigenous identity, security and transaction solutions provider.
The President, who was the first recipient of the new card at the launch last Friday, stated that, “Ultimately, the card would replace the sectorial identity cards in circulation, and shall be the only card to be used in transactions where identification is required as provided by law”.
Additionally, the registration exercise for the GhanaCard will involve children from age 0-5, which will provide the country with a unique opportunity for Ghana to sanitise and rationalise her birth certification to ensure social inclusion right from birth.
Another promise fulfilled
The President noted that the rollout of the new card is a practical demonstration of the fulfillment of yet another promise by the New Patriotic Party to modernise and formalise the Ghanaian economy through the establishment of a credible national database, using the National Identification System (NIS) as the primary identifier, as prescribed by law.
“After several years of demonstrated inability to do so, the National Identification Authority (NIA), under the tenure of an NPP administration, is about to commence the registration and instant issuance of national identity cards to all Ghanaian citizens, both at home and abroad, as by law prescribed,” he emphasised.
He added that his government has not only prioritised the NIS as both special and strategic, but has also demonstrated commitment to making the NIA work again.
Confidentiality of personal data
The President charged the NIA and its partners to ensure strict compliance to safeguarding the integrity of the system and data collected.
“Let me remind the stakeholders in this exercise of the need to ensure the integrity, security and confidentiality of identity data collected. It is important that the data collected is made available only to persons or institutions authorised by law to access the data and used only for the purposes for which the data was collected.”
He congratulated the Identity Management Systems Ltd (IMS), who are partnering with NIA to ensure the efficient rollout of the NIS Project, and pledged his government’s support to providing the enabling environment for private sector participation.
“As I have stated on many occasions, my government is fully committed to supporting and enhancing the capacity of Ghanaian companies and businesses to be the giants in their respective areas of operation.”
Prof Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah urged all and sundry to avail themselves when the registration and issuance is rolled out in November, cautioning that soon no other form of identification, except the new card, would be accepted nationwide and internationally as the only identity document.
National rollout plan
The rollout plan is to begin issuing cards to citizens by November this year, by which time the digital addressing system would have been fully deployed.
The issuers will then travel across the length and breadth of this country, beginning from Accra, go anti-clockwise to the Central Region, to Western Region and then clockwise to Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions. “God willing, we are going to complete this important national assignment within one year from November.
Dual interface smartcard for 15 years and above
The registration exercise would not only involve adults but children from zero to five years as well.
Ghanaians 15 years and above will be issued dual interface smartcard.
2D barcode cards for 14 years and below
However, children from zero to 14 would not be issued the same GhanaCard, but with two dimensional derivative
(2D) barcode cards, since their biometrics change quickly.
When they attain age 15, they will be issued with the GhanaCard proper.
Instant issuance system
The new National ID card project is an instant issuance system in place with reliable inter-connectivity that significantly reduces the cost and challenges associated with card distribution.
The new Ghanacard has been designed to assist compatriots with visual challenges to be able to use it, using a tactile feature on the card.
ID Card can be used as passport across ECOWAS
Another new feature of the card is that it has the logos of the passport of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on it, which allows for it to be used in place of a passport across ECOWAS member countries.
ID card to be linked to one’s bank account
Apart from it being a national identification card, it would also be linked to one’s bank account, to enhance modern payment systems.
ID card to last 10 years
The new ID card is expected to have a lifespan of 10 years, after which it will be renewable at a fee to be determined by the authority.
The NIA has explained the exercise will start with the security agencies, schools, banks and the population in the Greater Accra Region.
Ghanaians abroad to be registered
Ghanaians resident in other countries have not been left out of the registration process.
An opportunity will be given to them to register for the card at a fee wherever they are.
Fixed registration centres
For each region, fixed registration centres would be gazetted and advertised to the general public.
Registration is free but mobile vans cost a fee
Even though the registration is free, institutions with large populations can request for the services of mobile vans to register them at their offices at a fee.
All agencies to use the data
The NIA said the system is designed to facilitate data sharing among user agencies, and the smartcard has a total memory capacity of 148k.
When functional, state agencies such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Free Education and Youth Employment programmes, Passport Office, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) will all depend on the reliable register to deliver effectively on their mandate by making it difficult for people to provide false information.
Halt false information
A credible register of all Ghanaians would serve as the singular reference source for all government offices and programmes, to prevent people from providing false information.
Source: Daniel Nonor || The Finder