NIA Will Print Outstanding Cards When Debt Owed Are Cleared — Prof Attafuah

Professor Ken Attafuah, the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), has stated the readiness of the Authority to print and issue all outstanding cards when the Government clears debt owed its partners.

Already, he said, the Government had cleared part of the debt, however, a considerable amount was yet to be paid.

“[With the amount paid] when cards are released, 541,529 cards can be printed in less than two weeks.

“We have the capacity, we have over a thousand functional printers, we have people who are trained, who are professionals who are sitting at home doing nothing and are anxious to work. We call those people back to work, with 500 printers, we can print 50,000 cards a day,” he said.

Speaking in an interview in Accra, Prof Attafuah said financial constraint was why the Authority was unable to print Ghana Cards for the public.

According to him, the NIA owed its partners such as the Identity Management System Limited some considerable amount of money.

As a result, more than 3.5 million stocks of cards were locked up in a bonded warehouse.

Prof Attafuah said as of February 19, 2023, the NIA had registered over 27 million people, adding that only 2.5 million people were yet to be registered.

“There are 541,529 cards that are not yet printed. That is, they are ready to print but have not been printed and that is largely because of financial difficulty,” he said.

He added: “Since about August of last year, we have experienced financial constipation in the system and it created a situation where even though we have 3.5 million stocks of cards in a bonded warehouse, we are unable to assess the cards because of financial difficulty.

“The banks are owed, the private partner with who the NIA does business, the Identity Management System Limited, which is the private partner we are working with, and we are operating this Ghana Card project under a public-private partnership arrangement. That partner is owed a considerable amount of money, and the banks that have been bankrolling this are unable to further bear the cost and, therefore, have refused to release the cards to us.”

The Electoral Commission is expected to lay before Parliament a new Constitutional Instrument (C.I), seeking to make the Ghana Card the sole form of identification for voter registration for the 2024 general election and subsequent elections.

Some political commentators, Civil Society Organisations and political parties, including the opposition National Democratic Congress have questioned the decision, saying it would disenfranchise many eligible voters who may not have been able to obtain their cards.