[dropcap]P[/dropcap]resident Nana Akufo-Addo has become the first recipient of the new national ID card, as the National Identification Authority (NIA) begins processes to capture the biometric data of all Ghanaian citizens.
The President also swore in eight members of the governing board of the NIA at its headquarters, charging them to work with utmost integrity and professionalism.
At a brief ceremony before registering for his own new national ID card, President Akufo-Addo said the role of the NIA was crucial in the management and development of Ghana.
“The NPP government under my leadership has not only prioritized the NIA but also demonstrated a commitment to making the NIA work again… Today’s ceremony also constitutes a practical demonstration of the fulfillment of yet another promise of my party during the 2016 campaign, that we will mobilize and formalize the Ghanaian economy through the establishment of a credible national data base, and use the National Identification System (NIS) as the primary identifier as prescribed by the law,” the president said.
The National ID scheme is expected to formalize the economy through the establishment of a national database linking the Passport Office, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), Ghana Revenue Authority among others.
The NIA was set up in 2003 under the Office of the President with the mandate to issue national ID cards and manage the National Identification System.
This resulted in the passing of the National Identification Authority Act, 2006 (Act 707). The National Identity Register Act, 2008 (Act 750) was also passed to give authorization for the collection of personal and biometric data and to ensure the protection of privacy and personal information of citizens.
Between July 2008 and May 2010, the NIA began mass registration of Ghanaians for the unique ID cards. A total of 11 million people in six regions were registered in the process.
Amidst various challenges, the collection of the cards started later in 2011 though some state institutions and banks rejected it as an unrecognized state identification card.
Many have called for the reproduction of new ID cards to be linked to a central database base and be used as the official state ID of any Ghanaian.