Low birth, death registration hampering Ghana’s National ID system

Low registration of births and deaths in Ghana is hampering the creation of a reliable national identification system, a senior official said here late Thursday.

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National Identification Authority Building
National Identification Authority Building

John Agbeko, Acting Director of the Department of Births and Deaths, said a functional national Identification system is therefore not possible without the basic requirements of a birth and death registry.

National Identification Authority Building
National Identification Authority Building
Agbeko made these remarks during a roundtable discussion on Ghana’s National Identification system hosted by the World Bank country office in conjunction with Citi fm, a local radio station.

“We need to be mindful that every year between 35 percent and 40 percent of children born in our country go unregistered,” Agbeko disclosed, stressing the need for a concerted effort among state institutions to ensure that births and deaths are dully registered.

For these unfortunate ones, he said the era of childhood, as the period to grow, learn and develop one’s capabilities to face the challenges of youth and adult life within a well protected social and civic environment might be a mirage.

“On the other hand, a larger proportion of deaths, about 65 percent to 70 percent of our citizens, who die also go unregistered and this also has dire repercussions for surviving loved ones and the nation,” he added.

Agbeko asserted: “No one will deny the fact that the role of births and deaths registry in the establishment of a functional National Identification System is an important one.”

He therefore suggested that the registry be strategically positioned and equipped to serve as the primary source of information for all identification processes.

Deputy Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission, Grace Bediako, in her message, remarked that for its statistical value, a national Identification system should be compulsory for all.

“”It should be linked to the births and deaths registration system and also the national immigration system.

“These linkages with a functional address system will provide a strong basis for developing a national population register into which individuals enter at birth, upon registration and exit permanently at death, but have their temporary movements in and out of the country covered through the immigration service,” Bediato, a former Government Statistician, pointed out.

Bright Simons, honorary Vice-President of IMANI Ghana, and president of mPedigree, was livid about the piloted national Identity Card (ID), describing it as lacking critical features that makes it risk free.

According to him, the non-existence of an electronic chip in Ghana’s piloted national ID card is a clear indication of its weakness in modern technology.

He was of the view that for sufficient security, particularly for the inter-linking system, a national ID should have an electronic embedded chip that has read-write capabilities for critical analyses for access control.

Simons also expressed worry that the Legislative Instrument that made the card mandatory might not be able to stand a challenge at the Supreme Court. Enditem.

Source: Xinhua

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