Bawumia Defends NIA

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has commended the National Identification Authority (NIA) for effectively issuing National Identity Cards, popularly called Ghana Card, to Ghanaians in recent times.

The exercise, which began two weeks ago, has been beset with some technical glitches, resulting in long queues in some parts of Accra.

A section of the public has been complaining about the amount of time spent in registering for the card.

Speaking at the National Digital Roadmap Conference in Accra yesterday, the Vice President stressed the need for Ghanaians to bear with workers of the NIA who are undertaking the process.

While he admitted to the teething problems associated with the exercise, he described it as a game-changer for the country.

According to him, the issuance of instant biometric cards has never happened in any part of the world not even in the advanced economies like the United States and United Kingdom.

“Ghana is doing this instant issuance of the National ID Card as people come to apply for it and most people don’t realise that this is the first time you have this instant issuance of Biometric National ID cards in the world,” he said.

Even in those countries, he disclosed that national ID cards- National Insurance, Social Security- are not issued instantly, saying “it takes days for them to be posted to applicants.”

Dr Bawumia said “we wanted to make sure people when they come to apply for the National ID card to a large extent they can receive the cards before they leave the premises, so that we don’t have this whole process of people applying and not collecting and so on.”

The Vice President said that this has given rise to connectivity problems which has delayed the process.

That notwithstanding, Dr Bawumia said “it is very important that we are patient so that we have this chip-embedded biometric card with our pictures on it for transactions later on.”

The exercise is expected to come to end in a year’s time.

On her part, the Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, whose speech was read on her behalf by her deputy, Nenyi George Andah, reiterated the commitment of the Ministry to the national ICT policy to mainstream ICT in governance and every aspect of the economy under the government’s Integrated Infrastructure Development Programme (IIDP) to position the country as a strong regional ICT hub.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent