An NIA representative has said that not all applicants for new identification cards, those seeking to correct errors on their old cards, or those seeking replacements because their cards are lost or damaged, will have their requests satisfied by September 30.
Professor Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, executive director of the National Identification Authority (NIA), indicated on TV3’s Ghana Tonight on August 1 that his organisation does not work on deadlines but rather perpetually.The Ghana Cards, the national identity cards that have become the primary document for recent SIM card re-registration, are gaining popularity.
Due to the large number of people who were unable to re-register their SIM cards, Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful extended the deadline until August 31. This was the second extension after the first one on March 31.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, while addressing the press on Sunday, said she had to extend the deadline again “reluctantly”.
“Upon consultation with the industry and in view of the challenges enumerated above, I have very reluctantly decided to grant a final conditional extension.”
She said this latest decision will take the exercise, which started on Friday, October 1, to exactly a year since it started.
“The programme will be extended to 30th September to end on the anniversary of its commencement. That will give us one full year of SIM registration.”
‘Leisure and pleasure’
With the Ghana Card as the single most sought-after document for the registration, pressure is on the NIA to get applicants captured for their cards.
But Prof Attafuah said the Authority was set up to allow Ghanaians the luxury of time to get their cards.
“NIA was not set up with a specific deadline,” he stressed.
“NIA is an organisation set up in perpetuity. What that means is that we are to deliver our mandate pretty much the same like the hospital or a maternity ward that people go there as and when they need to.”
He said the NIA is required to conduct a mass registration and register Ghanaians and non-citizens who turn 15 years old in perpetuity. We are doing so in accordance with the law, which stipulates that people may register with the NIA at their leisure. There is no time limit on this process, and the intention of the law is that those who have not been registered in the past will be registered in the future. However, Professor Attafuah believes that a large proportion of Ghanaians will be able to receive their SIM cards for the upcoming re-registration by the deadline.