About 75,000 foreigners from 149 countries living in Ghana have been issued with Identification cards but they are not using the cards due to lack of enforcement.
Mr. Moses K. Baiden, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Margins Group, the company that contracted to produce Non-citizen Ghanacard told Daily Express that about 75,000 foreigners in Ghana have been registered under the Foreigners Identification Management System (FIMS) since December 2014.
He said the project was a public-private partnership (PPP) between the National Identification Authority (NIA) and the Margins Group.
According to Mr. Baiden, the agreement between NIA and Margins Group was to allow the company raised money to design, build, operate and transfer the system after meeting the target. “This is because NIA did not have money to do the project initially,’ he added.
“We did that 2013 and we were able to register over 75,000 foreigners under this project from 149 countries,” he told Daily Express.
He said the purpose of the registering is to allow the government knows which foreigners are in the country and what they are doing in Ghana. “It was very useful tool,” he added.
However, he indicated that the only weakness to the project is NIA unable to enforce the use of the cards.
Under the NIA L.I. government has to know what these foreigners are doing in the country, “especially with this terrorism age. We have to start enforcing the use of the cards so that they will be monitored through transactions they will make,” Mr. Baiden noted.
Daily Express told that the company was contracted to produce about 500,000 foreigners with identification cards (Non-citizen Ghanacard), but because NIA has not been able to enforce the use of the 75,000 cards the company is yet to produce the remaining 425,000 cards.
“We still seeking steps trying to allow NIA enforce it and I think the rigorous enforcement of the cards will allow us to know who lives in the country and who is not a Ghanaian,” he stated.
Mr. Baiden said because the system of issuing the card was between 9 and 10 minutes, the idea was to expand it and do the Nationals Identification Cards in addition after the Board of NIA saw the success from the company.
“The board realized that the system at the NIA was already working and asked us to use all the previous system available without wasting them. We did use the existing NIA cards and just put a new chip in it which has the same functions as what Nigeria and Estonia’s have,” he noted.
“Having done all this, we were ready and what we needed was contract from the NIA to rollout the National Identification Cards. The system itself has been ready since December 2014. But NIA also has its own views and how the contract has to be done,” he told Daily Express.
Mr. Baiden said “we needed the contract to spell out the risk involve and in order to ensure that there is transparency with what we are doing with the NIA, especially that there has been numerous rumors surrounding the system.”
“With the first contract we did not take a pesewa from the government. The project was under PPP initiative and we did what we promised to do,” he told Daily Express.
Daily Express learnt that the company request the chip from the Netherland and send to the company to do some work on them before imbedding it into the card.
Regulation 7 of the National Identity Register Regulations 2012, (L.I. 2111) mentions the uses of the Non-citizen Ghanacard, some of which include application for driver’s license, opening of personal bank accounts, purchase of insurance policies, payment of taxes, and consumer credit transactions among others.
Information from fims.org.gh states that FIMS is not meant to identify foreign nationals for discrimination or repatriation; it is for their protection. The 1992 Constitution of Ghana prohibits all forms of discrimination.
Also, all non-Ghanaians resident in the country are encouraged to fully participate in the FIMS registration; just tell us who you are and we will classify you accordingly.
FIMS is not meant to abuse the privacy of the individual; there are laws / regulations protecting the use or otherwise of a foreigner’s personal information to be stored in the National Identification Database. Only persons / institutions authorized by law shall be allowed to access the data stored in the national database.
Those eligible includes all foreign nationals who are above six years old and meet the following criteria are permanently resident in the country; have resident permit; and foreign national who is living in the country for at least 90 cumulative days in any given year.
The benefits of the Non-citizen Ghanacard are that it will be harder for someone to fraudulently obtain another’s identity; it will facilitate the issuance and renewal of a driver’s licence and the processing of requests for the validation of international driver’s licence; and it will strengthen foreign missions in Ghana to provide necessary services to resident foreign nationals in Ghana.
Also foreign nationals living in Ghana can expect special treatment when they can prove their nationality by producing their Non-citizen Ghanacard; the card will easily help to establish the identities of non-Ghanaians resident in the country in difficult and emergency situations; the ability of diplomatic missions to protect their nationals in Ghana will be considerably enhanced as FIMS can provide them with incontrovertible or verifiable information in a timely fashion; Identity Cards would be a way for young people to prove their age and among others.
Daily Exprss tried to get reactions from the NIA but no response.
Source: Fred Yaw Sarpong- Daily Express