The Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority, Prof Ken Attafuah, says the Authority has all the biometric data the Electoral Commission (EC) will need for the creation of a new voters’ register.

Speaking on Joy News’ news analysis programme, Newsfile, Prof Attafuah said the NIA’s enrolment platform captures the biographic details – which includes the iris, fingerprints, facials – the Commission would require in compiling a new electoral roll.

“The only thing the EC needs, which the NIA does not take, is polling station number or name but that is as easy as ABC to get with technology; it is not a problem at all,” he added.

Parliament has approved a ¢390 million for the EC to compile a new voters’ register for the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

While the decision to compile a new electoral roll has been sternly criticized by some opposition political parties and Civil Society Organisations, the EC is bent on creating the new register as it says the old system is overstretched.

Many have also questioned why the EC wants to embark on the exercise when it can rely on the NIA which is already collecting the same biometric data from Ghanaians.

Prof Attafuah said if given some time, the NIA can provide every detail except for polling station numbers – which the EC requires for its processes.

He disclosed that over the past months, the NIA has registered 7, 301,193 out of which 4, 262, 471 cards have been issued.

“It means that as at today, NIA can push to the EC the data set of all those Ghanaians who have been registered and are above 18 years. About 94 to 95 percent are persons on the national identity register aged 18 and above and who will be 18 and above at the time of voting.

“With a click of a button, we can push all that data set to the EC which can easily with technology assign the polling station codes or numbers to them,” he explained.

All this data, he added, can be made available to the EC by the end of March when mass registration for the Ghana Card ends.

“The NIA is poised to deliver…when that [mass registration] is over we will use the equipment and personnel who have gained experience to set up permanent NIA offices in the regions, municipalities and districts across the length and breadth of the country,” he indicated.

With these offices established, he is certain that the NIA database can gather the data on the 17 million voters the EC needs for the compilation of a new voters’ register by June ending when all individual registration would have ended.

But the EC says it cannot wait.

Director of Electoral Services, Serebour Quaicoo, who was also on the show said their activities are timebound and they are uncertain about the NIA’s capabilities to deliver the required data in time for its activities. 

He said by the time the EC goes back to request for the people with the Ghana Cards to come with their cards for the polling station numbers to be compiled, a lot of time would have been wasted.

That is why “we are not comfortable with respect to when that data will be available,” Dr Quaicoo said.

“If we are to wait for the NIA then it will mean that we are not going to have a register for the elections, that is why we are saying that in future when they are set, we can rely on them but for 2020, we may be taking a risk of not getting the register if we are to depend on them,” he added.