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Digitised Identification Agenda

Last weekend, the National Identification Authority (NIA) hosted selected media persons for an interaction about the operations of the authority.

As an agency, much of whose operations are little known by the public, it has come under considerable public flak especially, at the height of the initial registration exercise. This was a time when many neither understood its workings nor appreciated the challenges confronting it.

As an agency whose work has security implications, the NIA’s meticulousness should not be taken for granted and compromised.

Its stored data which can be accessed biometrically serves effective policing and immigration management, among others.

An earlier attempt to issue all Ghanaians with a citizenship identification card wobbled and halted the reasons for which are varied.

The second attempt has succeeded and Prof Kenneth Agyeman Attafuah, under Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia’s flagship digitisation agenda, has cause to smile because in terms of performance, the agency has not failed in its delivery.

Now ready to deliver cards to the remaining eligible Ghanaians ahead of the next elections, we wonder why there are still doubts about the authority’s ability to deliver on this mandate.

For an authority which has so far covered so much of the registration of Ghanaians and seamlessly linked up with SSNIT and GRA with EC in sight, the place of the NIA in Ghana’s socio-economic architecture cannot be over-emphasised.

Only hidden agendas will seek to create imaginary stumbling blocks in the country’s ability to use the Ghana Card as the sole identification document for voting in the country.

With the level of sophistication and expertise at the hands of the staff of the NIA, we can count on it to live up to the expectations of the brains behind its establishment.

State agencies which sometimes come under the verbal attack of the public must learn to talk more about their operations this way, the ignorance which is responsible for the uninformed remarks about them will give way to knowledge-based narratives.

The NIA must maintain the momentum which has led to the excellent performance credited to it so far. The smartness of the Ghana Card can only be enhanced when in the long run, it will become a repository of vital data of its holders. Such data as SSNIT, DVLA, NHIS and voter registration, among others, when incorporated onto this card, will make life more comfortable for citizens and its integrity unchallenged.

Cooperation with the authority is the way to go and not the pockets of antagonism borne out of political consideration of the past.

State institutions can only work when we join hands to assist them. The bad-mouthing of such agencies will not inure to the interests of the nation.

The next most important hurdle in the way of the total incorporation of all vital data onto the Ghana Card is the voters register. We shall soon be there and what an amount of money the country will save when the periodic earmarking of so much funds for the compilation of fresh voter’s identification card is no more.

Only a continuous registration of those who come of voting age will give us the security and money saving we so much desire.

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