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General News of Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Source: The Finder

Credible NIA database is solution to false information – Dr Bawumia

Vice-presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has called for the immediate creation of a credible register of all Ghanaians.

According to him, this register would serve as the singular reference source for all government offices and programmes, to prevent people from providing false information.

Speaking at a press conference organised by the NPP to prove that the voters’ register was compromised Dr Bawumia appealed to government to resource the National Identification Authority (NIA) to register all inhabitants on the land to create the register.

He noted that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the 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.

Currently, only about 900,000 people, out of the 15 million whose data were collected in the last national registration exercise, have been supplied with their national ID cards.

Of the 15 million people whose data were collected, only 9 million were inputted into the database, with only 4.5 million being completed, and 2.7 million national identity cards printed.

Technological changes within the last three years necessitated that data collected in the last national registration exercise is updated, and the NIA in 2012 signed a public-private partnership (PPP) with IMS Limited for a pilot project to register eligible foreign nationals living in Ghana.

The new national ID card project “is an instant issuance system that eliminates the cost and challenges associated with card distribution.”

The system also takes care of the data needs of all stakeholders, including all 10 fingerprints, and would also capture the face and iris, as well as other biometric traits to enhance the security and integrity of the National Identification System.

Additionally, the Ghanacard has been designed to assist our compatriots with visual challenges to be able to use it, using a tactile feature on the card.

The expanded scope, together with the specifications of the system, will enable the NIA to meet the biometric data requirements of all the user agencies.

Based on the success of the pilot projects, the NIA had taken a decision to expand the PPP to cover about 15 million Ghanaians by November 2015, delivered under a contract with Morpho, an internet service provider.

The PPP Approval Committee (PPAC) had already given approval in principle to the project.

ICPS, an ISO-certified full service card manufacturing facility from card fabrication to fulfilment, recently took a giant step in readiness to issue instant national identification (ID) cards to Ghanaians.

It produced the instant cards under the Identification Management Systems (IMS) Limited for a pilot project to register eligible foreign nationals living in Ghana under a public-private partnership (PPP) with the National Identification Authority (NIA).

Based on the success of the pilot project, the NIA expanded the PPP to cover about 15 million Ghanaians.

Some months ago, the Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Margit Thompson, handed over a $3.5 million state-of-the-art card and security printing equipment to ICPS, a subsidiary of Margins Group, a Ghanaian company.

In addition, the investment fund of the Danish government, known as the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU), has also, through its Investment Committee of the board, announced an additional investment of $5 million to support ICPS for supporting IMS for NIA card production needs.

The $3.5-million Danida Mixed Credit facility is part of a $10-million ICPS upgrade project.

The handing over of the facility also showcased the ICPS’s ultra-modern factory and capacity and the expanded AFIS and central site of NIA, which has been developed jointly with Dermalog of Germany, a leader in biometric, together with IDFG of Denmark.

The central site has the capacity to store 400 million fingerprints, 80 million faces and 80 million irises, and it is the most advanced biometric system in the country to date.

The system is designed to store all the current NIA data, enabling nationals to update their already collected data in the first registration or submit new data if not registered, to achieve NIA’s mandate to be the primary referential database connecting the alphanumeric data and biometrics of all nationals to a unique NIA pin number from cradle to grave to be used by all stakeholders.

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 (NIS).

This resulted in the passing of the National Identification Authority Act, 2006 (Act 707) to give it the necessary legal premises on which to operate.

The National Identity Register Act, 2008 (Act 750) was also passed to give authorisation for collection of personal and biometric data and to ensure the protection of privacy and personal information of enrollees.

The NIA is mandated to establish and manage a national database, set up a system to collect, process, store, retrieve and disseminate personal data on the population (Ghanaian citizens - both resident and non-resident, and legally and permanently resident foreign nationals), ensure the accuracy, integrity and security of such data, and to issue and promote the use of national identity cards in Ghana. It is also to make data in its custody available to persons or institutions authorised by law to access the data.

The NIA seeks to facilitate the integration of all public sector/civil operation, law enforcement, corporate and business applications/systems to the National Identification System, and the provision of general identification services.

The setting up of the National Identification System is in response to providing up-to-date data that will facilitate the nation's development agenda.