The National Identification Authority (NIA) has commenced the registration of Members of Parliament (MPs) to issue them the much awaited Ghana Card.
The Minority members who are witnessing the exercise have vowed not to take part in it.
They have cited the NIA’s quest to accept only passports and birth certificates as identification forms for the registration and issuance of the card and the cost of the project as the reasons for their boycott.
Power News‘ Parliamentary correspondent, Princess Arita Anim reports the exercise begun at the law making chamber to register the MPs yet the Minority refused to take part.
As at the time of reporting, she indicated that some MPs at the members had already registered. The MP for Atwima-Kwahuma, Hon. Appiah Kubi before going through the registration process said they [Majority] were content with the process.
A statement signed by Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu on Sunday, announced their refusal to register and indicated the NIA has refused to engage Members of Parliament in a meeting to clarify “a number of issues relating to the roll out of the exercise.”
According to the Minority, apart from the cost of the registration exercise, the criteria for registering Ghanaians under the programme is not appropriate since it will prevent millions of Ghanaians from getting the card.
“…we remain opposed to the restriction of identification requirements for registration to Passports and Birth Certificates. Our analysis show that this will prevent about 23 million Ghanaians from obtaining the Ghana Card and deprive them of any benefit thereof,” the statement explained.
The MP for Bodi, Sampson Ahi said they boycotted the exercise because their “concerns have not been addresed.
“We didn’t ask them [NIA] not come here. They can be here but we’re not going to be part of it till our concerns are taken care of,” Mr Ahi said.
Explaining why they have boycotted the exercise, the former deputy Minister of Works and Housing stated: “Our concerns are two major issues. one is the cost of the whole exercise and two is the mode of identification with regards to who is a citizen of Ghana. We believe that restricting the mode of identification only to the use of birth certificates and passports will not allow a lot of Ghanaians to get registered…
He also said he does not believe the NIA officials will be in the chamber to brief the house on issues surrounding their operations although it was announced in the House last week they will appear to respond to questions.
Minority Claims Baseless
Meanwhile the Majority have described the Minority’s claim for the boycott as baseless, adding that the exercise will not disenfranchise Ghanaians.
Hon. Ebenezer Kojo Kum, MP for Ahanta West and vice Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee in Parliament told Charles Akrofi that he and the Majority members were registering for the purposes of proving their citizenship.
He said the Minority are contesting the cost of the exercise whereas the exercise has not started, calling the boycott as “premature.”
“…They are not saying the card is not useful, they are only complaining about the cost and if you want to complain about the cost and we are not even doing it, how can you even question the cost?” he asked.
He said the fifteen (15) year project will help the government to have data on the actual population of the country for many purposes.
He asked the Minority to slow down on the protest if they are serious Ghanaians who want the country to move the country forward.