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					              ADDRESS BY HON. DR. KWABENA DUFFOUR
   MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC PLANNING ON THE
       OCCASION OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE NATIONAL
            IDENTIFICATION AUTHORITY (NIA) BOARD ON
                 MONDAY 29TH JUNE, 2009 AT 11:30AM

Chairman of the Board of the National Identification Authority
Distinguished representatives of Institutions,
Executive Secretary of the NIA,
Former Board Members of the NIA,
Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen,
Friends of the Media,


It is a pleasure for me this morning to inaugurate the Governing Board of
the National Identification Authority on behalf of His Excellency President
John Evans Atta Mills. This is a historic occasion for two reasons. First, for the
first time since its establishment in 2003, the National Identification
Authority (NIA) will have a Governing Board replacing the Interim Advisory
board. Second, this is the first time a fully constituted board is being
officially inaugurated for this all-important institution that will, through the
use of biometric identification technology, contribute to changing the
way we do business in this country.


The establishment of the National Identification System (NIS), which is the
responsibility of the NIA, is part of Government’s response to national
concerns    about    pervasive       identity   fraud,    duplication    of   identity
documents,     inefficiencies   in    public    service    delivery     and   human
development, the slow and unreliable pace of employment services
provision, lack of accuracy in population census data, and credit
information and revenue generation, among other concerns.
The NIA was set up to meet very important national needs. Its mandate is
to register all Ghanaians (at home and abroad), and foreign nationals
permanently resident in Ghana, generate unique identifiers for them, issue
national identity cards, promote the use of ID cards in Ghana, and verify
and authenticate identity search requests from public and private sector
institutions.
A key goal of the NIS is to strengthen public confidence in the business
environment by ensuring that transactions are efficient, secure, reliable
and trustworthy. In addition to minimizing identity fraud and improving
crime control, the NIS will contribute significantly to the transformation of
our national economy and the improvement of good governance,
democracy and the rule of law.
The need for a national identification system has been recognized since
1972. Indeed, pursuant to The Citizens Identity Card Decree, NRC Decree
129 of 1972, the National Redemption Council regime of Col. I.K.
Acheampong implemented an identification scheme in 1973 in five
regions of the country –Upper, Northern, Volta, Brong-Ahafo and Western
regions. In 1991, the PNDC government developed a technical proposal
on the idea, and in May 2001, the National Economic Dialogue
constituted by the New Patriotic Party Government recommended the
establishment of a multi-sectoral technical committee to develop a new
strategy and technical details for implementing a more comprehensive
NIS for Ghana. The NIA was subsequently set up in 2003 to implement the
scheme, and the National Identification Authority Act (Act 707) was
subsequently passed in 2006.
The establishment of the NIS has enjoyed multi-party support since its
inception. When the Bill for the establishment of the NIA was introduced in
Parliament, it received strong bi-partisan support, with the NDC, then in
opposition, putting its weight behind it. It is with the same commitment
that the NDC Government, just shortly after assuming office, released over
four million Ghana cedis to the NIA for the payment of overdue
allowances to staff and for the commencement of mass registration
exercise in the Volta Region.


The NIA has made a lot of progress since its establishment:


      Construction of the National Data Centre and NIA Headquarters is
       97% complete.
      Installation of equipment for data processing and card printing is
       almost complete.
      Massive public education campaign was undertaken in 2006 to
       raise public awareness of the NIS and to enlist broad public support
       for it.
      The mass registration exercise which started on 1st July 2008 has
       been successfully concluded in Central, Western, Eastern and Volta
       Regions.


The Authority is yet to commence mass registration in the remaining six
regions of the country –Greater Accra, Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Upper East
and Upper West. It is also yet to decentralize aspects of its operations by
establishing permanent Regional and District offices throughout the
country to provide its services to the people on a regular basis. It must also
ensure the integrity of its data base and, within the confines of the law,
protect the privacy of the individual.


I have followed with great interest the development of the National
Identification System since its inception in 2003, and I am pleased to have
the opportunity, in concert with the Governing Board and management,
to oversee its implementation.


Government is fully committed to the successful implementation of the
National Identification System. His Excellency President J. E. A. Mills is
anxious to see the roll-out and use of the ID cards throughout the country.
It is against this background that the President has nominated you as
members of the Governing Board, confident that you will provide the NIA
with   sound    and       effective   policy   direction   for   the   successful
implementation of its mandate. It is the ardent hope of the President that
you will help to make Ghana’s national identification system one of the
very best in the world.


I must, therefore, implore you to be diligent, committed and loyal in
performing your duties as members of the Governing Board. There are,
indeed, a number of pressing issues awaiting your most urgent attention,
and it is my hope that you will be able to rise to these and other
challenges awaiting you.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


On behalf of His Excellency the President, I thank you most sincerely for
accepting the nomination to serve on this important Board, and I
congratulate you on your appointment. I now officially declare, on behalf
of the President, the National Identification Authority Board duly
constituted.


Thank you all for your kind attention.

				
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