A Political Scientist and Fellow at the Centre for Democratic and Development (CDD-Ghana), has called for the National Identification Authority (NIA) to be financially resourced to aid its work.
This, Dr John Osae-Kwapong explains, is because the Ghana Card is an important document.
According to him, when the Authority is financed, they would be able to make registration for the Ghana Card by eligible voters smooth.
“It looks like one of the biggest challenges that the NIA faced as he described it, was financial constraints and so when you remove that bottleneck, then the ability of the Authority to register people who present themselves should not necessarily be a problem,” he said.
The CDD-Ghana Fellow’s comments follow NIA boss, Prof Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah’s lamentation over some challenges that the NIA is faced with, particularly financial constraints.
Prof Attafuah said as of February 19th, the NIA has over 17 million people registered for the Ghana Card.
However, there are 541,521 cards that have not been printed.
The printing challenge, he said is due to financial difficulties.
“Since about August of last year, we have experienced financial constraints in the system and it created a situation where even though we have 3.5 million stock of cards in a bonded warehouse, we are unable to assess the cards because of financial difficulty….,” he explained.
Prof Attafuah added that the private partner in the arrangement is owed a considerable amount of money hence the refusal to release the Ghana Cards to the NIA.
The NIA boss, however, stated that government on Friday cleared some of the debt, therefore NIA is hopeful that “going into next week, cards will be released.”
“Now when cards are released, 541,521 cards can be printed in less than two weeks,” he assured.
According to Dr Osae-Kwapong, although he accepts the assurance that the NIA has the capacity to print out all outstanding cards, the Authority has to ensure that the financial constraint that prevented them from doing so will be solved.
Meanwhile, he expressed his concern about the current economic hardship – if that would enable the Authority to be financed.
Dr Osae-Kwapong’s comments come on the back of the Electoral Commission’s (EC) quest to use the Ghana Card as the sole document for registration as a voter in Ghana. The EC has thus submitted a Constitutional Instrument to Parliament for passage.
In a related development, the Minority in Parliament says it will resist any attempts by the Electoral Commission to use the Ghana Card as the only source document for compiling the 2024 voters register.
According to former Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu the Electoral Commission has sinned against the Constitution by not holding limited registration exercises since 2021.
This, he said has disallowed some citizens who have come of age, the opportunity to enroll as voters.
“Mr Speaker, for the record – 2021, 2022, 2023, Ghanaians who have attained the age of 18 years have been denied the opportunity to be captured as registered voters. This is a constitutional wrong,” he said.
This situation, he noted, is unacceptable to a country committed to multiparty constitutional democracy.
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