COST OF THE GHANA CARD PROJECT IS $124 MILLION:
REACTION TO MINORITY LEADER’S DEMAND FOR FORENSIC AUDIT OF NIA CONTRACT
The attention of the National Identification Authority (NIA) has been drawn to a story on Ghanaweb titled “Minority demands forensic audit in $1.2bn Ghana Card contract” attributed to the Minority Leader in Parliament, Hon. Iddrisu is quoted as demanding a forensic audit into the activities of the NIA and accusing it of bloating the contract sum for the Ghana Card project.
The NIA wishes to, once again reiterate its earlier position on the subject and to categorically deny that the project cost is bloated. Specifically, the NIA states that:
- The National Identification System (NIS), project contract is being executed under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement between NIA and Identity Management Systems (IMS), a subsidiary of the Margins Group of companies.
- The cost of the project is jointly shared by the parties. NIA’s component of the contract sum is $124 million, which caters for operations in both Ghana and abroad to register and issue smart, biometric, chip-embedded ID cards to all Ghanaians aged 15 years and over, and 2-dimentional bar code cards to all Ghanaians under 15 years old. The cost of the project to IMS is $169 million. All subsequent costs will be covered by proceeds from the project over the contract term of 15 years.
- Unlike other traditional contracts, IMS will not be given any money by the Government of Ghana.
- It will be recalled that the Minority in Parliament issued a press statement on 10 June 2018 in which it admitted to having received documents from NIA which it subsequently approved, showing the total life cost of the project over 15 years as $1.2bn with tax exemption of $176million. It is baffling that the NIA will be accused of bloating the contract sum which it presented to all members of Parliament. th
- It must be emphasised that the cost per smart card issued to Ghanaians 15years and above is $5.40, while the cost per 2D bar code card issued to Ghanaians under 15years is $1.50.
- It is factually not correct that nationals of India are issued with a biometric ID card. What India issues to its nationals is merely a Personal Identification Number; India does not provide its citizens with any form of identity cards whatsoever.
- The closest national ID cards that can be compared to the Ghana Card, in terms of their physical characteristics and technical functionalities, are those of Rwanda and Nigeria. The Rwandan national ID card is a multipurpose card with a 64-kilobyte chip which contains the bearer’s passport, driving licence and health insurance information. The Ghana Card has a 148-kilobyte capacity chip and greater functionalities than the Rwandan card. The Ghana Card also has 14 applets, and far transcends Rwanda’s, and it also has a passport for travel within West Africa. There are also three international ID profiles on the Ghana Card. Information from other data silos, such as the DVLA, NHIA, SSNIT and GIS may be incorporated onto the Ghana card.
- The Rwandan biometric ID card will be optionally available at a cost of $18.17 while the Ghana card costs $5.40, and is issued free of charge to Ghanaian citizens in Ghana.
- The NIA-IMS contract costs have undergone Value-For-Money (VFM) audits by the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and have also been thoroughly assessed by the Public Investments Division of the Ministry of Finance. The contract has also been reviewed by the Attorney-General’s Department and the Legal Unit of the Ministry of Finance. In addition, the contract has been reviewed and given approval by the Public Private Partnership Approval Committee (PPPAC) of the Ministry of Finance, as well as the Economic Management Team of Government. It has also received Cabinet approval.
- Copies of the draft Contract were distributed to all 275 members of Parliament, and appropriate waivers for import duty exemptions were also granted by Parliament prior to the contract being executed by the parties in April 2018.
- Further information on the NIS project could be found on NIA’s website www.nia.gov.gh