The National Identification Authority (NIA) has reiterated that the government has an outstanding debt of approximately $80 million owed to the Authority for the production of Ghana Cards.
According to Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, the Executive Secretary of the Authority, the government has not fully settled these outstanding payments.
Earlier this year, some partners of NIA, including Identity Management Systems, held back over 3.5 million cards due to the government’s failure to clear its debts.
While a payment of 100 million cedis by the Finance Minister led to the release of these cards, the accumulation of debt, including interest over the past six months, is now posing a threat to the registration process.
Prof. Attafuah emphasized, “the government of Ghana owes us approximately $80 million, and this is still in USD, so it’s a significant sum of money that the government needs to pay.”
He also noted that the debt had initially been around $90 million and had increased due to additional arrears, which were part of a government support agreement.
“Government of Ghana was so convinced about the viability of this project and it is still extremely viable that it undertook to basically underwrite any revenues that should have gone to the private partner for any given month if the project doesn’t generate revenue,” he said.
He further explained that the government was confident in the project’s viability and had undertaken to underwrite any revenues that should have gone to the private partner in case the project didn’t generate revenue.
In light of the upcoming 2024 general election, the Electoral Commission (EC) is planning a mass voter registration exercise for next year. A proposed Constitutional Instrument (C.I) is seeking to rely solely on the Ghana Card as the primary means of identification.
Prof. Attafuah stated that the NIA possesses reliable data that can aid the EC in conducting a credible registration exercise. He highlighted that the NIA can readily provide the required data to the EC, ensuring a seamless collaboration.
Furthermore, the Executive Secretary of NIA revealed that the Authority, in partnership with the Births and Deaths Registry, would begin issuing Ghana Cards to newborn babies following a successful pilot program.
Babies will be assigned a unique serial number at birth by the Births and Deaths Registry, linking their birth certificate to the Ghana Card. This initiative aims to eliminate controversies surrounding citizenship, age, and identity management issues in Ghana, providing a reliable and comprehensive system for managing citizen data.
“This is an internal contest to elect our flagbearer, so why should I attack my opponents or say something against our party?
“I am running a very decent campaign. I am selling my ideas to delegates and I do that with decorum, with humility, with respect and without mentioning anybody’s name,” he added.
He also revealed that he has instructed his campaign team and spokesperson not to engage in attacks or insults, even if he is subjected to such treatment by other aspirants. He emphasized the importance of conducting the contest based on ideas and not resorting to personal attacks, emphasizing his commitment to unity within the party.