The Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Dr William Ahadzie has attributed the stalling of work on the National ID cards to the lack of funds.

Dr William Ahadzie on December 1, 2010 announced that distribution of ID cards would begin in Accra in January 2011.

But the scheduled distribution failed to come off long after he made the announcement.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, the NIA boss said the ID cards were ready but explained the inability of the Authority to pay its field workers coupled with management’s decision to launch the distribution programme stalled the process.

“One principal reason is the issue about funding…because we want to avoid a situation where we send people into the field and we are unable to pay them when they are out there. And the decision taken by management is that unless money gets into our hands, we are not going to send anybody out there because what it does is that, it creates a backlash for the Authority and also for the government.

“The second reason is that we actually want the distribution programme launched by His Excellency the President of the Republic. That gives it a certain weight and a certain importance,” he said.

The NIA boss also revealed that his outfit is yet to pay registration workers in Ashanti Region as well as some in Accra due to the fact that government funds are released in tranches.

“We get it in tranches and so you don’t get the full amount for the region as you do the exercise. At least I’ve done two regions since I took over and I didn’t get the bulk amount…and in the Ashanti Region for instance, I didn’t get the last part that would have allowed me to retire that particular outstanding payment,” he lamented.

According to him, even though the exercise was time-lined to have completed in March 2009, the lack of funds, has also restricted their progress in covering the remaining four regions – Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.

“We get the [budgetary] allocation per region…and at every step of the way you have to wait and get the budgetary allocation and it was designed to have ended in March 2009.

“This is February 2011 and we have done only six regions. So it’s just been purely the flow of funds for the exercise to be undertaken,” he said.

Dr Ahadzie however stressed that there was light at the end of the tunnel, hinting that the Authority had contacted some local banks to support them with financial resources.

According to him, the government is far stretched in the area of funds and as such, the Authority is seeking to raise $25 million to augment their public funds.

“Because the scale of resources required for this exercise is so extensive, and from experience it cannot be drawn on the public budget entirely, we initiated efforts to secure funding outside the government’s budget.

“We are talking to some institutions, some local banks possibly and some others who are outside the system for us to secure some funding for the exercise.

“For the local banks, we’ve spoken to about two or three of them and we are looking around $25 million. If we get that, we will do quite a number of things that we have to do,” he stressed.

Story by Fidel Amoah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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