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Opinions of Friday, 10 June 2011

Columnist: Quaye, Stephen A.

Solve The Identity Problems Now

From: Stephen A.Quaye, Toronto-Canada

A young gentleman decided to travel from the national capital Accra to pay his mother a visit in one of the towns in the Eastern Region. As a principled man, he always stashes his bank cards as well as his voter identification cards in his wallet and keeps it in his back pockets.
He always keeps them in his wallet in his pockets because he does not know when and where they will be demanded for to clear him of business transactions or for security purposes.
On the way to visit his mother he felt hungry and therefore stopped at the shoulder of the road to buy cooked egg to sustain himself for the rest of the journey.
He was right to buy the cook egg and ate it but that also created another problem for him worsening his troubles.
After a while, he felt responding to a natures call but lucky enough for him he was about to hit his final destination so he kept it to himself only to ease himself in his mothers house.
Two troubles one God as some people will say, as he rushed to the pit latrine at the village with his [pants] trousers hanging at his knee only for him to be careful in placing his foot accurately on the wooden slaps before squatting on the latrine, the unexpected happened.
As he lowered himself to ease himself an unusual noise was heard,[Pam].What was that he asked himself. Lo and behold, the wallet has fallen into the latrine with all the cedi notes, bank cards and his voter ID cards which could not be retrieved.
This man returned to Accra without a single note of money on him as well as his ID cards. He managed to get a new bank card as the cheques also aided him to withdraw some money from the bank.
However, when it came to submitting a genuine ID where only voter ID was demanded he was found wanting as that always created a problem for him simply because after issuing it every four years he has to wait for couple of years before he could get one since that year was not an election year.
For the first time I have been very happy looking at the comments my piece which was posted on Ghana Web about loopholes in identification received from numerous readers. There were no insults neither were there personal attacks but rather reasonable contributions in one way or the other as to how best to plug the loopholes.
Not all the readers agreed with me on all the points that I raised but the inputs were accepted. For those who challenged the fact that identification of a Ghanaian as is currently done only by scrutinizing ones voter ID card should not be a problem should see themselves in this scenario and ask suppose it happened to them what would they have done.
Especially where you have lost all these together with your passport and needs to receive money through a western union from a relative residing in overseas what would they have done?
The point is in overseas countries, it has been observed as a profit making business for some people who transfer money for people so the government through the commercial institutions has improved the services to serve the people and serve them better.
Once you register with the western union agent you are given a card which identifies you as a bearer and for that matter a client which you can use at any branch of western union money mart.
But in Ghana you are only asked to provide voter ID as if you are going to vote for NPP, NDC or CPP or better still asked to provide a passport as if you are going to be checked into a next flight at the airport.
Here in Canada, passports or resident permit cards or citizenship card is demanded for at the initial stage of registering for something that they need your status after which you are issued an identification card from the institution allowing you to keep your vital documents such as the passport, resident card nor citizenship card in a saver place.
It is time Ghana has to introduce such systems for the benefit of all whiles the issuance of the voter ID if strictly going to be used as a source of ID card. Let the banks begin to identify more money marts in the country by introducing such holistic approaches to create business ventures for others whiles it takes it taxes.
Let us deliberate further.