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General News
Foreign nationals registration begins 3/10/2013

The National Identification Authority (NIA) has begun issuing the ‘Ghanacard’ to all eligible foreign nationals in the country, in line with its mandate to register both foreign nationals residing in the country.

Known as the Foreign Identification Management Systems (FIMS), it forms part of the legal mandate of the NIA to register all permanent resident foreign nationals in the country – for which the NIA has developed a separate process of registering foreigners.

Describing the process to the media in Accra, the Head of Public Affairs of the NIA Ms. Bertha Dzeble, said the issuance of the non-citizen identity cards attracts a fee of US$120 and the entire process involves the instant issuance of identity cards to applicants at the point where biographic and biometric data are captured.

She said the identifying of non-Ghanaian nationals in the country is not for discrimination but rather for their own protection, citing the fact that the1992 Constitution of Ghana prohibits discrimination.

“FIMS is not meant to abuse the privacy of the individuals since there are laws/regulations protecting the use or otherwise of a foreigner’s personal information to be stored in the National Identification database. Only persons/institutions authorised by law shall be allowed to access that data stored in the NIS,” she emphasized.

Ms. Dzeble noted that the FIMS will assist government combat crimes such as money laundering, terrorism and proliferation of arms. It will also aid foreign nationals with the acquisition of work permits for those who require it, as well as to help government protect the rights of foreign national among others.

The only exemptions are foreign nationals who are diplomats or employed by diplomatic or consular missions, foreign nationals employed by the United Nations and its agencies, a foreign national employed by the African Union or any of its agencies, as well as other International/Multilateral agencies duly accredited to Ghana.

It also covers spouses and dependants of foreign nationals who fall in the categories mentioned above.

Ms. Dzeble said that the NIA has a strong technical capacity and legislative backing, but is financially constrained to deliver its mandate as captured in Act 707 to issue cards to Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians.

“Government has a tight budget to fund the NIA but is wary of the implications of charging citizenry for ID cards on achieving full coverage for the national ID card project, and is consequently adopting the private-public-partnership approach since it is consistent with government’s strategy of using private finance to promote the delivery of services,” she added.

To date, seven regions have already had their data captured and are issued with cards. The remaining three will begin this mouth depending on the availability of funds.

She emphasized that the NIA database is critical for planning and optimizing government policy, delivery of rights and privileges, as well as the enforcement of duties and obligations and foreign nationals – not forgetting being a catalyst for e-governance.

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