NIA receives GH¢100 million debt clearance to print more Ghana cards

By Elsie Appiah-Osei

Accra, March 1, GNA – The Government has reached an agreement with Cal Merchant Bank for a GH¢100 million facility to clear the debt owed the technical partners of the National Identification Authority (NIA) to release the over three million blank cards locked up in bonded warehouses to be printed and distributed.

“Mr Speaker, we have agreed to a GH¢100 million facility to ensure that the 3.2 million blank cards are released,” Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Finance Minister, said on Tuesday.

He said 80 million Ghana cedis had been deposited, and “the remaining 20 million will be paid by this evening, Tuesday, February 28, 2023,” for the release of the blank cards held hostage by the technical partners for non-payment of the debt.

Mr Ofori-Atta said this when he led Madam Jean Adukwei Mensa, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), and Prof. Kenneth Agyeman Attafuah, the Executive Secretary of the NIA, to Parliament to brief the Committee of the Whole on the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2022 and the Registration of Ghanaians for the Ghana Card.

Prof. Attafuah had, earlier this week, disclosed that although there were capable staff to carry on with the printing process, the debt owed its technical partners, such as the Identity Management System Limited, had resulted in their refusal to release the blank Ghana Cards to the Authority for printing.

Madam Mensa, on her part, briefed the House on the proposed Constitutional Instrument (CI) to facilitate the work of the EC in the upcoming 2024 general election. 

She said the CI would promote the continued registration of voters and allow for an all-year-round registration of eligible voters at its district offices.

The EC Chairperson told the Committee that the Ghana Card, also known as the ECOWAS Card, was only required to register as a voter and would not replace the Voter Identification Card.

“Once you present your Ghana Card and successfully register as a voter, you will be issued a Voter’s Identification Card, which bears the code of your region, district, electoral area, and polling station,” she said.

“Mr Speaker, I wish to emphasize that the Ghana Card does not have these features, therefore it will not be used to vote in the 2024 General Election.”