By: Francis Tandoh / Roger A. Agana
Investigations conducted by SpyGhana.com indicate that the National Identification Authority (NIA), the body set up to register and issue identity cards to Ghanaians and foreigners is facing financial challenges thereby affecting its operations.
The standing bill of the state agency is said to be up to the tune of 4,165,475.02 Ghana Cedis out of which 1.3 million Ghana cedis is amount owed the three northern regions regarding the mass registration exercise in 2010.
The remaining amount has to do with outstanding payments for the construction of the NIA building as well as amount it owes the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
It has been gathered that funding from the central government to the NIA to undertake its operations has been irregular and more importantly not enough.
In 2014, the authority presented a budget of 13 million Ghana cedis to the government for its operations out of which an amount of 760,000 Ghana cedis was approved.
Out of the amount that was approved, 300,000 Ghana cedis was released by the government as at the end of 2014.
Similarly, the NIA presented a budget of 15 million Ghana cedis to the government for this year but government has approved 340,000 Ghana cedis and the first tranche of 30,000 has not been paid as at the end of the first quarter.
Our investigations further revealed that the central air-condition system of the NIA has broken down and was finding it difficult getting funds to fix the problem.
The state agency has had challenges with the ECG as the power company sometimes disconnects power to the authority and as such had to rely on a plant which according to sources had become quite expensive fuelling.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has indicated the NIA has the potential to be self-financing.
Many who have spoken on the predicament of the state agency has recommended the need for the authority to enter into a public-private partnership (PPP) program as a way of getting some funding to undertake its operations before government subvention was paid.
Meanwhile, the NIA has on its own initiative entered into a PPP program with Identity Management System (IMS) to be able to generate some funds for its activities.
The authority is currently undertaking the registration of foreign nationals in the country under the Foreigners Identification Management System (FIMS) project and is generating funds from the exercise.
Each foreign national who is registered and issued with a non-citizen Ghana card by the authority is made to pay 120 US dollars.
The NIA also realized an amount of 5000 Ghana cedis for doing verification for the various banks in the country that requested for it in 2014.
Ghana’s NIA was set up in 2003 under the Office of the President with the mandate to issue national identity cards and manage the country’s national identification system.
This resulted in the passage of the National Identification Authority Act, 2006 (Act 707) to give it the necessary legal premises on which to operate.
The National Identity Register Act, 2008 (Act 750) was also passed to give authorization for collection of personal and biometric data and to ensure the protection of privacy and personal information of enrollees.
To fulfil its mandate, the authority has established a national identification system, which is a multi-purpose national electronic biometric database of all Ghanaian citizens living in and out of the country and all foreign nationals permanently resident in Ghana.