The credibility of the Akufo Addo led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government campaign promise to roll out a National Identification Card within its first year in governance has come under serous scrutiny as, Hon Sam Nartey George, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Prampram constituency in Greater Accra Region has raised red flag over it failure.
According to the young vibrant legislator, the NPP government which has the penchant of deception when it come to fulfillment of campaign promise has failed miserably on the issuance of the national ID.
Hon Sam George raised these concerns when he took his turn on the ongoing debate on the 2018 budget on the floor of parliament yesterday.
The NPP in its 2016 manifesto said the hallmark of the NPP government is to accelerate ICT, adding that it key point in achieving that was a national identification scheme to register all Ghanaians in the first year of its administration.
But the Ningo Prampram lawmaker said with barely a month to the end of 2017, the government has only been able to issue a single dysfunctional ID card to the President contrary to the promise to issue to all Ghanaians in its 2016 campaign manifesto.
Without contradiction, Mr George quoted page 83 of the 2016 manifesto of the NPP which promised to distribute national IDs to all Ghanaians within 12 months of its administration, to buttress the point that indeed the NPP has failed to deliver on its promise.
He argued that given the number of days left for the year to come to an end, it was practically impossible for the Ghana Card to be rolled for the over 28 million Ghanaians as promised by the NPP before December 31st, 2017.
The National Democratic Congress(NDC) MP who is also a member of the COmmunication select committee of parliament noted that, after the president was issued with what he described as ” a dummy card ” on the 15 of September, 2017, no other person in Ghana has the card.
“Since then the Vice President who has been a poster boy for this campaign of the National Identification Authority, doesn’t have a national ID, the Speaker of Parliament who is number three in the country doesn’t have an ID, the Minister of Communication and her two deputies don’t have their national ID…” he punched.
He avverred that, though he appreciate the fact that there were some legislative impediment visa vis the Supreme Court ruling on the illegality of the NHIS card as a basis as citizen, the his contention was based the campaign promise made and what has been achieved so far on the national ID.
For him, the forgone conclusion in that direction could be that, “it is one of failure and the NPP must accept that and move on.”
Mr Sam George therefore accused the government of reneging on its promise to deliver the national ID to all Ghanaians in the first year of its administration.
On the contrary, a Deputy Minister for Communications, Mr Vincent Sowah Odotei said, the assertion by the Ningo-Prampam MP was a fallacy and that he was not in the mood to accept such tag of failure from a party, the ND which in his view is noted for failing.
He contended that if the NDC, had in the last eight years of its tenure, implemented the policies initiated by the erstwhile Kufuor administration in the area of national ID, no one would be today talking about issuing new cards.
Mr Odotei said despite the time frame in the campaign promise, the NPP was still committed to delivering on its promise to the people of Ghana with a national ID card.
He asserted that the government could have gone ahead to issue the ID for every Ghanaian, but had has to take cue from the Supreme Court ruling which said the NIA could not issue a national ID until there is an amendment of the law removing the NHIS card holders.
Based on the SC ruling, he said government has gone back to Parliament to amend the law to make it possible for the NIA to issue the cards, adding that, the NIA has already given out a contract, personnel have been employed, and “everything is in place” for the cards to be rolled out after the law has been amended.
The Deputy Communication Minister revealed that, in the amendment of the NIA, children at age 15 and infants are all going to be issue with the National ID card.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba