The National Identification Authority, NIA says it will begin the registration of Ghanaians abroad later this year.
The next phase of the ongoing GhanaCard registration exercise, according to the Authority, will also include all children between 6 and 15 years.
Executive Secretary of the NIA, Professor Kenneth Agyeman Attafuah, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic said its ready to roll out the exercise from December 2022 or early January 2023.
He explained that the NIA is collaborating with Ghana’s Embassies and High Commissions around the world to register all Ghanaians resident outside the country, including an estimated 1.5m children.
“Registration and issuance of smart cards to Ghanaians between the ages of 6 and 15 will start from December 2022 or early January 2023, and the NIA intends to register approximately 1.5 million children in this age bracket,” Graphiconline.com quoted the NIA boss as having said.
The announcement comes as a surprise to critics wondering why the NIA which is not ready to expand its offices to capture millions of Ghanaians who did not have the opportunity to register and were denied through no fault of theirs but seems financially ready to conduct the exercise abroad and still capture children below 15years.
NIA Executive Secretary’s statement is likely to trigger national debate following concerns raised by political parties amidst fears that EC’s resolve to depend on the Ghana Card as eligibility criteria for voters ID card ahead of the 2024 elections, could disentrances many Ghanaians.
Per the NIA’s current programme, the Authority intends to register and issue Ghana Card to Ghanaians in prisons and other places of detention.
The dates according Prof. Ken Attafuah are however yet to be determined.
“When all modalities on these two phases of registration are finalised, the NIA will put out the commencement dates”.
On its database, the NIA said 15,826,148 Ghanaians had been issued their Ghana cards as of September 15, 2022.
17,109,627 people in all have been capture in NIA’s register since the exercise began in November 2017 and this includes 161,007 non-citizens residing in the country.
1,283,479 cards remain uncollected.
The NIA boss assigns various reasons, including some needing updates, others unable to locate their collection points, and others were also not showing up to collect them because they “feel they have no need for them now”.