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Opinions of Saturday, 3 May 2014

Columnist: Scofray Nana Yaw Yeboah

A centralized data base system, the way to go ghana

In this 21st century, one of the most valuable assets in the world and the years to come due to technological age and its advancement is DATA. It is valuable because, it is that which every fast development oriented society or country needs to develop strategies and policies that are scientific based for the sake of accuracy and proportion to cut down on waste and try-and-error.

Ghana's entrance into such age of technological advancement is not quiet old but if countries like Malaysia, India, etc. were peers and share almost many things in common, then we have no excuse than to bask into the benefits of the deployment of this cut to fit technological platforms.

If today you open the wallet or purse of any average Ghanaian you will find the following card, NATIONAL ID, VOTERS ID, NHIS ID, PRIVATE MUTUAL HEALTH ID, COMPANY ID, DRIVER'S LICENSE, ATM and the new one is SSNIT biometric card. Out of all these cards, National ID, Voter ID, NHIS, civil & public ID, passport and the incoming SSNIT biometric card are all within the operations of the state and are also biometric in design which captures almost the same details of citizens.

The biometric nature is one common and best reason why we need a centralized database. Its purpose is to avoid impersonation, fraud and facilitate the capture of accurate scientific data for varied usage. Why should a citizen of a country carry more than two ID cards as a symbol of his/her identity and annoyingly not all are accepted for transaction within certain jurisdictions.

With a centralized poll of database in this day and age of technological advancement we will benefit in the following ways,


This is where the possibility of losing data captured for intended purpose can be lost in the advent of accidents or natural disasters can be curtailed. Institutions such as banks, services providers, national health, etc will have no cause for alarm in doing business with prospective clients because they are rest assured of the credibility of info a centralized system will provide. It will aid even the police for swift research on criminals when biometric features are picked up. Businesses can easily trace clients who default on agreements. A centralized database system will automatically deal with supposed ghost names in our civil and public institutions which cost the nation lots of money.


We are witnesses to the frustrations citizens go though for simple services that require a form of identification. If we have a centralized data base system, can we imagine the speed with which efficiency services can be rendered in this nation where hitherto will take hours? A centralized system eradicates bureaucracy which breeds unproductivity, as well as corruption which has become a cancer robbing the country of her resources. With an output of accuracy, a centralized system projects among other technologies, the nation can have results that are scientific in nature and does not flip-flop between the decentralized data systems we operate now.


Considering the cost government incurs to capture, save and process database on decentralized systems, all can be curtailed and those monies re-channelled into other developmental projects. It has become inconvenient for banks to accept some form of IDs and reliability on such cards receives a lot of question marks. Why should it be so? It is more or less easier, reliable and comforting to access data from a centralized system where the ID captures all needed info a firm needs for documentation and execution.

Let's consider how much Electoral Commission alone not to mention National Identification Authority, National Health Insurance Authority, etc. spends on registration and its accompanied chaos just to have a credible and reliable register for elections. Supposing our birth and death registry is hooked unto a centralized database, EC wouldn't need those sums of money to register citizens and clear the register of dead electorate.

These benefits are too valuable to ignore of a centralized database, and it will cut down the excessive waste that goes into these decentralized system of identifications by government institutions which have huge effects on general living of the Ghanaian. Private and public institutions whose job requires scrutiny of identification wouldn't need a tall order to go to satisfy needs of their companies, institutions and clients.

Elsewhere, once your national ID number is keyed into a system of verification your entire needed records shows and whatever a service provided needs from say a tax agency wouldn't need to request documentation etc to sanction whatever need or service to be provided to a client.

I.T gurus and experts must join this campaign to make sure Ghana benefits from a centralized database system, the absence which creates a lot of inconvenience, insecurity, excess waste, inefficiencies and cost.

Scofray Nana Yaw Yeboah

Transformational Coach/Media Analyst/Author

Lead Consultant

Zoweh Global Consult