Parliament Passes National Identity Register (Amendment) Bill, 2017

| Updated Nov 18, 2017 at 9:11am



The Parliament of Ghana has passed the National Identity Register (NIR) (Amendment) Bill, 2017 into an Act subject to, presidential assent.

The Bill was passed under a certificate of urgency as officials of The National Identification Authority (NIA) at the meeting with The Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, justified that....."there is the urgent need to effect the necessary changes in the law to enable the The Authority to commence the impending nationwide registration exercise scheduled to commence in November, 2017.

For that reason, they intimated the need for the urgent passage of the amending Bill expeditiously to pave way for the introduction of the necessary Legal Instrument (Ll) to operationalize them before that date".

The purpose of the Bill was to amend some aspects of the existing National Identification Authority (NIA) Act, 2006 (Act 707) to bring the law in tune with modern trends and to also ensure the accuracy and integrity of the Country's National Identification System (NIS).

The NIR (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was laid in Parliament on Wednesday, 7th October, 2017 by The Minister responsible for the National Identification Authority (NIA), Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei for the passage in accordance with Article 106 of The 1992 Constitution.

It was subsequently withdrawn on 14th November, 2017 and re-laid under a certificate of emergency and referred to The Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report, pursuant to Order 179 of The Standing Orders of Parliament.

On proof of citizenship, The Committee noted that, "The Bill seeks to do away with the use of voters' identity cards drivers' licence and baptismal certificates as proof of citizenship.

It however maintains the use of birth certificates and passports.

It further introduced residence permits and other documents evidencing acquired citizenship".

According to the Committee's report, The Bill intends to eliminate the current minimum age for registration to enable all children under Six years to be registered.

"The Authority will register all children under Six years of age and give them unique identification numbers.

The unique numbers will be tied to the particulars of their mothers or that of their fathers, in absence of the mother".

Presenting the report, the Chairman of The Chairman of The Committee and MP for Offinso South, Ben Abdallah Banda, believed that, the passage of The Bill is critical to the establishment of a comprehensive, robust and reliable National Identity System.

The Committee was satisfied that there was a strong case to warrant the passage of The Bill under certificate of urgency, he mentioned.

The impending registration exercise which is scheduled to start this November, will register all Ghanaians and foreign nationals residents in the Country, the reports emphasized.

Story by Francis Edzorna Mensah.