The National Identification Authority (NIA) will, from today, begin the distribution of more than 3.87 million Ghana Cards to applicants.
The distribution will be carried out at 5,635 registration centres across all the 16 regions concurrently and is expected to run till Tuesday, June 16, this year.
The move, according to a statement signed by the Head of Corporate Affairs of the NIA, Mr Francis Palmdeti, would enable more than 11 million Ghanaians to have Ghana Cards in good time to be used for the voter registration when the Electoral Commission (EC) begins the exercise.
It also said the distribution would enable individuals to possess the card, which could be used to vouch for their relatives or other Ghanaians who wished to register during the nationwide mop-up registration exercise, which will commence on June 18 and end in mid-September this year.
“It will also enable persons in possession of the Ghana Card to use it for other mandatory purposes stated in the National Identity Register Regulation, 2012 (LI 2 11),” it said.
According to the statement, adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) would be provided for all NIA field officials for use during the exercise.
“All registration centres will be equipped with the requisite resources to ensure the effective observance of all prescribed health and safety protocols.
“In addition, security personnel will be deployed at each registration centre to ensure that crowd control measures, such as physical distancing and appointment system, are strictly observed,” it said.
The Executive Secretary of the NIA, Professor Kenneth Attafuah, told the Daily Graphic yesterday that the exercise was important to ensure that all individuals received their cards.
He explained that although about 70 per cent of applicants received their cards instantly at the point of registration, technical challenges or errors with applicant information made it impossible to issue instant cards to some persons.
“What we need to be clear with is that 70 per cent of applicants got their cards at the registration centres,” he said.
Some of the factors that inhibited the instant issuance of the cards included problems with some of applicants’ information which needed to be rectified in the national database before the cards could be issued, he said.
“We had to make sure that people did not defraud the system, so some of the applications with errors went into adjudication to be reconciled to know that there was no fraud, and that process took time,” he said.
However, Prof. Attafuah assured the public that “all those cards have now been cleared”.
Beyond the technical challenges and errors in applications, the NIA boss said the authority relied on three separate options in printing out cards for applicants, which included instant and deferred issuance.
“Our system was designed with three printing options — instant, which is issued at the registration point; deferred issuance, which is when we print over the weekend at the print farm and issue at the registration centre later, and the one that involves children, which is done at the office,” he said.