The GhanaCard, which will replace the sectoral identity cards in circulation and become the only card to be used in transactions where identification is required as provided by law, has been launched in Accra.


With a 128 kilobyte capacity, the Ghana Card will enable other stakeholders to run their applications on the national identity card.


President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was the first to receive his card, the registration and issuance of which will begin nationwide in November, this year.
The launch, which took place at the premises of the National Identification Authority (NIA) on Friday, also witnessed the swearing in of a 10-member Governing Board for the NIA.


Speaking at the ceremony, President Akufo-Addo said the project constituted a practical demonstration of the fulfillment of yet another promise of the New Patriotic Party, made during the 2016 campaign to modernize and formalize the Ghanaian economy through the establishment of a credible national database, using the National Identification System (NIS) as the primary identifier, as prescribed by law.


He said the aptly-dubbed new “Ghana Card”, signaled the dawn of a new day in biometric identity management in Ghana and the virtues of a public-private partnership arrangement in meeting Ghana's development needs, adding that his Government had not only prioritized the NIS as both special and strategic, but also demonstrated commitment to making the NIA work again.


He pledged government’s full support for the NIA to enable it perform its functions effectively and that his presence at the event, together with that of the Vice President highlighted the seriousness which government attached to the National Identification System project.


"With my fullest endorsement, Vice President Alhaji Bawumia has ably spearheaded the technical and legal processes that had enabled the Government to decide how to proceed with the goal of achieving a National e-ID system for Ghana, which is beyond needless controversy and polemics, " he said.


President Akufo-Addo commended the partnership between Identity Management System (IMS) and the NIA to ensure the efficient roll-out of the NIS Project.


He said it was noteworthy that one of the positive results of the NIA/IMS partnership was the funding of a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) which would be in the custody of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) to support the development of e-Commerce in Ghana.


He noted that the historic inability of the NIA to complete the National Identification System (NIS) was responsible for the proliferation of biometric systems by other government agencies that were mandated by law to access information from the National Identity Register.


The president said the collection and custody of biometric traits by a single institution was safer and in line with current trends, adding that by statute, the NIA was under obligation to ensure the accuracy, integrity, confidentiality and security of data it collected.


The Executive Director of NIA, Professor Ken Attafuah commended the President for his visionary leadership, especially in the momentous step he took to ensure that a national identification card for Ghanaians both in and abroad came into fruition.


Professor Attafuah said the NIA office building which was built by President Kufuor's Government was in a sorry state when he came in as the Executive Director, but commended President Akufo-Addo for his commitment to making sure the edifice was put in good shape to enable staff of the Authority work efficient and effectively.


He hinted that the full roll-out of the registration and issuance of the card would begin in November 2017 awaiting the digital addressing system, and gave the assurance that the exercise which was expected to end within a year, would give Ghanaians a robust identity system.


Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)

Picture: ISD (Patience Lartey)