Come November 20, 2017, the National Identification Authority (NIA) will start issuing instant smart National ID cards under a very strict multi-level verification process.
The ID card, dubbed Ghana Card, is meant to be the primary ID card that citizens will use to access all services in the country, including even traveling within the West African sub-region.
It will be the only valid ID for application for a bank account, passport, telephone number, property acquisition, drivers license and many more.
Head of Information Technology (IT) at the NIA, Matilda Wilson, told Adom News at the ongoing Cybersecurity Week celebration the smart Ghana Card will not come cheap because the claims of applicants will be put to strict proof before they are issued with one.
She explained that applicants would be required to either submit a valid passport or birth certificate as proof of ID or come with a close relative whose ID is verifiable and can vouch for the applicant.
“Even the birth certificates and passports will be put to strict verification to ensure they were issued by the appropriate authorities before they will be accepted,” she said.
Matilda Wilson said applicants will also be interviewed by well trained NIA staff to ensure that they are actually Ghanaian before a card will be issued to them.
“We will also take all ten fingerprints of applicants and compare to the two they provided during the last exercise then we can update their details or create new data for fresh applicants,” she said.
She warned that the highly secured and sophisticated national ID platform has been connected to various ID-issuing agencies so it would not be in the interest of any applicant to provide information which is at variance with what exists elsewhere.
“Once we issue the Ghana Card all information about applicants will now be sourced from NIA so if you go somewhere for a service you would not be required to provide any information about yourself apart from your Ghana Card and the service provider will revert to NIA electronically to verify your details.
“So if you lie to us it will follow you forever and if you go and lie anywhere about who you are, it will be easily detected,” she said.
Matilda Wilson said applicants would also be required to generate and submit their digital addresses to be included in their details, so if one lies about their business or residential addresses, letters and parcels meant for them will be delivered at the wrong places.
According to her, the card will also capture applicants’ cell phone numbers so that when the telcos begin their SIM re-registration, it will be easy for them to verify the ID of SIM holders with the NIA.
She believes that will help to stem the problem of illegal SIM registration in the name of faceless people, which then get used for cyber fraud, particularly mobile money fraud and Simboxing.
Deputy Minister of Communications, Nenyi George Andah is confident that the Ghana Card linked to the digital addressing system and SIM cards will help to stem cyber fraud to a large extent because it makes perpetrators easily identifiable and traceable.
Touching on recent complaints about why the digital addressing system allows people to generate multiple addresses at one location, the Deputy Minister said that feature is rather a strength and not a flaw in the system.
He explained the because the greater majority of Ghanaians live in compound houses and work in communal environments, that feature as deliberately included to enable each occupant within a given residential or commercial space to generate their own unique addresses.
“So it is rather a good feature that ensures that the Ghanapostgps app is tailor-made to suit the unique needs of Ghanaians,” he said.
Nenyi George Andah said it is refreshing to note that just seven days after introducing the Ghanapostgps system, over 120,000 people have requested digital addresses on the app and 70% of that number have actually generated addresses.
“We are still at the education and awareness creation phase and the app is already becoming very popular – this shows Ghanaians have even gone ahead of our plan and that makes us confident that when we add the offline feature and a tweak a few things the system will even [ensure] greater public confidence and usage,” he said.