President Nana Additional Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Friday became the first recipient of Ghana’s new National Identification Card, signalling an era of contemporary robust identification that would expedite Ghana’s development drive.
The new identification card, tagged “the GhanaCard”, would meet all basic biometric needs of the country and would enable the harmonization and integration of all other data services in Ghana, ie; passport, national health insurance, social security and driving licenses.
At the official launch and live test of the National Identification System in Accra, preceding the mass registration and issuance of the card in November, 2017, President Akufo-Addo said the event was a practical fulfillment of a promise he made before the 2016 election to modernize and formalize Ghana’s economy by establishing a credible national database via the National Identification System (NIS).
He said the roll out of the Ghanacard pointed to the “dawn of a new day in biometric identity management in Ghana, and the virtues of a public-private partnership arrangement in meeting the country’s development needs”.
The GhanaCard roll-out is collaboration between the National Identification Authority (NIA) and the Identity Management Systems, a subsidiary of the Margins Group, an indigenous identity, security and transaction solutions provider. The card, wholly designed and produced in Ghana, is benchmarked to the latest cutting-edge international security standards.
Elated that the NIA under the tenure of his administration was about to commence the registration and instant issuance of national identity to Ghanaians home and abroad, the President said the event highlighted the seriousness that his government attached to the project.
“With my fullest endorsement, Vice President Alhaji Bawumia has ably spearheaded the technical and legal processes that have enabled the Government to decide how to proceed with the goal of achieving the national e-ID system for Ghana, which is beyond needless controversy and polemics.”
The President was not happy about the duplication of biometric systems by government agencies that are required by law to access information from the national Identity Register, insisting that all government establishments were mandated to sync their systems with that of the NIA that was obliged to ensure the accuracy, integrity, confidentiality and security of data it collected.
The GhanaCard is a vast improvement over the previous one that was issued by the NIA. It 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 capturing the prints of all the ten fingers.
The card, which would be issued instantly in less than ten minutes, has an embedded passport that would allow the holder travel through the ECOWAS region without a physical passport. It would assist in the control of crime, enable fluid banking services across various platforms and ensure social inclusion of all citizens.
The multi-application GhanaCard that has a chipset capacity of 128 kilobytes, can be used for e-commerce and e-transactions safely. It had a validity period of ten years.
Under current Ghanaian law, the GhanaCard is the only valid identification, and all other forms of identification would be rendered useless when the issuance is completed in a year’s time.
The registration exercise would not only involve adults but children from Zero to five years as well. However, children from zero to 14 would not be issued the same GhanaCard, but two dimensional derivative, since their biometrics change quickly. They would from the age of 15 bee issued with the GhanaCard proper.
Whilst assuring the NIA of government’s support to enhance its capacity and that of its partners to roll-out the NIS system, President Akufo-Addo reminded stakeholders to ensure the integrity, security and confidentiality of data collected.
“It is important that the data collected is made available only to persons or institutions authorized by law to access the data and used only for the purpose for which the data was collected.”
Prof. Ken Attuafuah 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.