After reports emerged that Ghana under the Akufo Addo-Bawumia NPP government would be spending a total of $1.2 billion for the Ghana Card registration, I thought it was a NIGHTMARE because I couldnâ€™t believe what my ears heard, so I decided to do little checks about it.
The explanation is that, government of Ghana is contributing $531 million of the total $1.2 billion cost, while Identity Management System (IMS), which is partnering the NIA under a public/private partnership (PPP) agreement, will provide $678million for the exercise.
The National Identification Authority (NIA) expected produce 88.9 million cards in 15 years. Ghana has a population of about 28.2 (2016) million people.
Now below are some of the interesting things my investigation revealed about similar exercises undertaken by other countries.
First is Philippines ??, this year (2018), the government has allotted PHP 2,000,000,000.00 equivalent to US$37,932,590.77 to
Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) mandated to provide national eID cards in five years for 107 million Filipino citizens and non-Filipino residents.
The National eID cards have micro-sims imbedded in them.
There are currently 33 different functional identification cards issued by the various government agencies which the government seeks to integrate with the National eID cards.
I decided to find out how other countries especially in the continent are going about their National eID cards registration.
I noticed that, in Tanzania ??, a contract worth $149.9m was awarded to National Identification Authority (NIDA) to undertake their National Identity Card registration, the government made a decision that the national IDs will become the only official documents for citizens and residents to use domestically. Tanzania has population of about 55.6 million people (2016).
In the case of Tanzania I also realized that President John Magufuli in January 2016 suspended the NIDA Director General Dickson Maimu and 4 others for an action the government described as â€œflawedâ€ registration.
Here in Ghana, the NIA CEO Prof Ken Attefuah is blaming his incompetence of an alleged â€œsabotageâ€.
In 2014, the government of Uganda allotted an amount Sh285 billion equivalent to todayâ€™s (US$75,525,000.00) to National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) which has the mandate to do its National eID cards. Looking at Uganda, it has a population of 41.5 million (2016) people.
Now, the issue is NOT about whether Ghana/govt should carry out the registration exercise or not, but the issue has to do with the amount government has committed to this project ($1.2bn).
This is the same party (NPP) while in opposition described the $115 million the previous NDC budgeted for the same registration as profligate and excessive and in less than 2 years, they have budgeted an unjustifiable $1.2bn for same project.
The issue of Digital IDs is of great paramountcy which is why the World Bank has made it one of The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 21st Century. The World Bank recently launched its Identication for Development (ID4D) agenda. The goal is â€œmaking everyone countâ€ by â€œproviding an identity and delivering digital ID-enabled services to all.â€
However, as citizens we demand to know the so-called â€œnew featuresâ€ they have added to what they came to meet to warrant such questionable jump in the amount from $115m to $1.2 billion.
This is because Akufo Addo-Bawumia led npp while in opposition sang a particular chorus â€œvalue for moneyâ€ through the tenure of the NDC government even when thereâ€™s no cause for alarm. Ironically, they have soon forgotten their popular song.
Is this what Nana-Bawumia government meant when they said to us that they were coming to protect the public purse?
President Akufo Addo and his government are seriously sinking this country in unprecedented corruption and nepotism.
God save Ghana.