The National Identification Authority (NIA) has commenced the registration of Members of Parliament (MPs) to issue them the much awaited Ghana Card.
The NIA failed to register the MPs on Monday, June 11,2018 as promised, after it failed in May to begin the full registration process.
XYZ News’ Parliamentary correspondent, Charles Akrofi reports that the exercise has begun in the law making chamber despite the boycott of the Minority following the NIA’s quest to accept only passports and birth certificates as identification forms for the registration and issuance of the card.
As at the time of reporting, Charles said some Majority members had already registered. The MP for Atwima-Kwahuma, Hon. Appiah Kubi before going through the registration process said they [Majority] were content with the process.
The minority in Parliament have refused to take part in the registration exercise, citing breach in procurement processes and cost of the project.
A statement signed by Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu on Sunday, announced their refusal to register and indicated the NIA has refused to engage Members of Parliament in a meeting to clarify “a number of issues relating to the roll out of the exercise.”
According to the Minority, apart from the cost of the registration exercise, the criteria for registering Ghanaians under the programme is not appropriate since it will prevent millions of Ghanaians from getting the card.
“…we remain opposed to the restriction of identification requirements for registration to Passports and Birth Certificates. Our analysis show that this will prevent about 23 million Ghanaians from obtaining the Ghana Card and deprive them of any benefit thereof,” the statement explained.
In an interview with XYZ News, the MP for Bodi, Sampson Ahi said they are still boycotting the exercise irrespective of the commencement.
“We didn’t ask them [NIA] not come here. They can be here but we’re not going to be part of it till our concerns are taken care of,” Mr Ahi added.
Explaining why they have boycotted the exercise, the former deputy Minister of Works and Housing stated: “Our concerns are two major issues. one is the cost of the whole exercise and two is the mode of identification with regards to who is a citizen of Ghana. We believe that restricting the mode of identification only to the use of birth certificates and passports will not allow a lot of Ghanaians to get registered.”
He also said he does not believe the NIA officials will be in the chamber to brief the house on issues surrounding their operations although it was announced in the House last week they will appear to respond to questions.
Minority Claims Baseless
Meanwhile the Majority have described the Minority’s claim for the boycott as baseless, adding that the exercise will not disenfranchise Ghanaians.
Hon. Ebenezer Kojo Kum, MP for Ahanta West and vice Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee in Parliament told Charles Akrofi that he and the Majority members were registering for the purposes of proving their citizenship.
He said the Minority are contesting the cost of the exercise whereas the exercise has not started, calling the boycott “premature.”
“…They are not saying the card is not useful, they are only complaining about the cost and if you want to complain about the cost and we are not even doing it, how can you even question the cost?” he asked.
He said the fifteen (15) year project will help the government to have data on the actual population of the country for many purposes.
He asked the Minority to slow down on the protest if they are serious Ghanaians who want the country to move the country forward.