The Law Says No Voter ID – Attafuah

Prof Ken Attafuah

The Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Prof Ken Attafuah, yesterday told Parliament that the National Identity Register Regulations (LI 2111) passed by Parliament in 2012 do not recognise Voters’ ID as primary requirement for registration for the Ghana Card.

He said the law was passed by the MPs, including the Minority members who were then in government, adding that they unanimously accepted that passport and birth certificates were to be used as primary requirements for the national registration exercise.

He said that until the law is changed nothing could be done about it.

This was in reference to the Minority’s call for the Authority to accept Voters’ ID card as a primary requirement for the registration exercise.

According to the Minority in Parliament, Ghanaians were registered by the Electoral Commission (EC) in accordance with the provisions in Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution which indicated that every Ghanaian of sound mind and over 18 years has to be registered and given a Voter ID to exercise his or her franchise.

Prof Attafuah said the NIA is strictly working according to the law passed by Parliament.

He said until the situation changes legally, they would adhere to the law.

He, however, told members of the Minority that apart from the acceptance of passport of birth certificate for the issuance of the Ghana Card, two registered Ghanaians with valid Ghana Cards can vouch for anybody who does not have a birth certificate or passport to be registered.

He said the NIA has also deplored 2,700 Commissioners of Oath to enable people without these basic statutory requirements to swear affidavit to support any claim of being a Ghanaian.

He said the cost of the project also being bandied around by the Minority is quite misleading, explaining that the total cost for the first year of implementation of the project is $293 million but the project, which is expected to run for 15 years, would cost $1.2 billion over the 15-year period

He further explained that Ghana would need $124 million to fund its initial contribution while the private partner, Identity Management System (IMS) would raise $169 million as its initial contribution in a mixture of debt and equity.

He said that apart from the above, all subsequent costs would be covered by proceeds from the project.

The Deputy Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation that superintends of the activities of NIA, Mr William Sabi, who accompanied to the NIA officials to brief parliament, said that the cost profile of the project has not changed since 2012 when the pilot contract for the registration of foreigners lawfully resident in the country, known as the FIMS Project, was signed by former President John Atta Mills.

“Lessons from the past experiences, limited government financial and technical capacity and deep consideration of the most efficient allocation of risk influenced the Public, Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with IMS, a Ghanaian owned company.”

The Deputy Minister said the National Identity Card can be used for the application of passport, driver’s licence, public or government services, opening of personal bank accounts, payment of taxes, registration of voters, registration of SIM Cards, purchase and registration of land, as well as consumer credit transactions, among others.

“Contrary to popular misconception, the National Identification System goes beyond just the issuance of identity cards, it includes citizenship recognition or determination, data integration, harmonisaiton of identification systems, as well as data storage and exchange systems for all Ghanaians living in Ghana or abroad,” the deputy minister said.

Meanwhile, the registration of the Members of Parliament by officials of the NIA started yesterday, with members from the majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) queuing to register. The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, told the press that $1.2 billion, together with tax waiver for project was excessive.


By Thomas Fosu Jnr