The Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority says suggestions that cost of producing the Ghana Cards is too expensive is resulting from a lack of proper knowledge on the issue.
According to Prof Ken Attafuah, the cards being produced by the National Identification Authority (NIA) are of world-class quality and cannot be compared to any other cards in the country and perhaps elsewhere.
He was responding to claims by Assin Central Member of Parliament, Kennedy Agyapong that the $293 million cost was too exorbitant and that if handed the contract, he could do it for less, $50 million.
Mr Agyapong has chided the NIA over the Ghana Card contract
He told Daniel Dadzie on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show that “The allegations and commentaries by the honourable Member of Parliament are ill-informed. They issue from a well-meaning position of ignorance.
“$50 million is not a realistic amount… and we are not producing sandpaper laminated cards. We are producing the topmost range of ID cards in the world that will take this country into the future,” he added.
Prof Attafuah explained that it was impossible, with the kind of card Ghana wanted to produce, to adopt the system a company Mr Agyapong had interest in, proferred.
He said the Aadhar card registration, as suggested by the MP’s bidders, is an Indian system which only gives unique numbers to registrants, not specialized identification cards.
“Adha doesn’t provide the kind of card we are talking about … they don’t even provide cards in the first place. They register, give you a unique number and if you want a card, you go get a card at your own cost. That’s the system he is talking about.”
He continued “Hon. Kennedy Agyapong’s company to the extent that it offered a solution, that solution was not considered to be an appropriate solution for the needs of contemporary Ghana.”
For him, the about 1.2 billion Indians can be registered at a cost of perhaps $50 million but it would be impossible for that to happen in Ghana as “you can’t compare an elephant with a mouse. We are talking entities of humongous difference.
“Somebody just came and said I can do it for 50 [million dollars]. They did not provide any details, no specifications, nothing.”
He said the technical committee established by the Vice President to advice government looked at NIA’s capacity vis a vis that of its private partners and pronounced their own verdict which informed government’s decision on the issue.
In Prof Attafuah's view, so advanced is Ghana’s card that the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the United States of America at a conference for biometric ID card users, concluded after learning about Ghana’s card that ”we have something far superior.”
“The Danish ID card manufacturing company came here, listened to us, asked their questions and at the end said ‘wow this is hugely impressive’,” he noted.
He stressed “let’s not belittle what we have. Let’s not compare elephants and mice, we have a major thing,” he said, adding ”the Ghana card is both a national ID card as well as an ECOWAS card. It meets the highest international specifications, prescribed by ECOWAS and also the International Civil Aviation Organisation as well as ISO.
“This is a serious enterprise, we have something to celebrate,” he said.