PThe National Identification Authority (NIA) says it has reported the refusal of some banks to accept the Ghana Card as a proof of identification, to the Bank of Ghana, to call them to order.
If the intervention of their regulator fails, the Head of NIA Corporate Affairs, Assistant Commissioner of Immigration (ACI) Francis Palmdeti, who disclosed this said, the NIA would “deal with them” lawfully in due course.
Although he fell short of naming any of the banks, he described the conduct of the banks as illegal per the National Identification Laws and cautioned them and other institutions doing same, to stop.
“The Ghana Card is a valid form of identification. Once issued and activated at the registration centre, it can be used for any purpose for which an ID is issued. Some banks accept it. Even the Electoral Commission recognised it during the registration,” he said.
ACI Palmdeti was speaking at the maiden workshop of the Media Network on Migration (MENOM) Foundation, a non-governmental organisation held in Accra on Friday.
The one-day event is part of a six-month series of activities being undertaken by the foundation under the Migration and Development (MADe) West Africa Project coordinated by the Centre for Migration Studies (CMS), University of Ghana and its foreign partner with funding from the European Union.
It assembled journalists, migration students and experts and other stakeholders for a sensitisation on the Ghana Card, under the theme ” Acquiring the ECOWAS Card (Ghana card): challenges and opportunities for the Ghanaian citizen.”
Launched in 2017 the card is a biometric national identification being issued by the NIA to both non-resident and resident Ghanaians and permanently foreign nationals as proof of identity, citizenship and residence.
The card and the phased registration exercise is governed by NIA Act, 2006 (Act 707) that gives the Authority the legal impetus and The National Identity Register Act, 2008 (Act 750) that authorises it to collect personal and biometric data.
According to ACI Palmdeti, the card gave bearers the opportunity to use it for businesses and services as well as travelling to ECOWAS countries hence the ECOWAS embossed on it.
He therefore urged all stakeholders to support Ghana’s third attempt at issuing the cards to be successful and assured of the authority’s readiness to resolve challenges as they are encountered.
Mrs Patience Gbeze, Project Director of the MEMOM, said the foundation was formed by a group of journalists with special interest in migration after a training by CMS in 2014.
She said the project was aimed at improving the effective implementation of the ECOWAS Free movement Protocol in Ghana adding that the workshop was focused on the Ghana Card because the foundation had observed that public knowledge was low.
Aside the workshop, she said other activities like awareness creation and capacity building programmes would be held in the ensuing months.
A faculty member of the CMS, Prof. Alex Asiedu, for his part, said migration was a sensitive phenomenon that could be beneficial if co-ordinated well and therefore urged countries to guard against xenophobic tendencies.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR