The Minority in Parliament suspects the State’s deal with Identity Management System (IMS), a subsidiary of Margins Group, for the issuance of the Ghana card, may be shady.
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, told the press on Tuesday “we smell something fishy.”
He further called on Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia to furnish Parliament with “further and better particulars on the matter.” Speaking after the Deputy Monitoring and Evaluation Minister, Dr William Sabi, broke down some details of the Ghana card registration before Parliament, Mr Ato Forson said his side was dissatisfied with the explanations offered.
Mr Ato Forson maintains the cost of the identification system is grossly overpriced.
According to the former deputy Finance Minister under the Mahama administration, details provided indicate that Margins Group was taking advantage of the State.
“They [government] could not give us satisfactory answer as to why we are spending close to approximately $1 billion for a national identification card. The cost breakdown proves that we are spending about $1.221 billion to produce the National identification card.”
“Again, we are going to give them [Margins Group] a tax exemption of approximately $176 million, so if you are to add the two, the cost to the ordinary Ghanaian is indeed $1.4 billion. In fact, that company is getting in return approximately $510 million for investing $168 million. This is a rip-off,” he stated.
The NIA has budgeted over $1.2 billion for the identification project over a 15 year period.
The budget for the first year is estimated at $293 million.
The government will be raising 124 million dollars to fund its initial contribution and Margins Group will raise the remaining $169 million.
All subsequent costs are expected to be covered by fees from the projects.
The government also expects some revenue returns from the of the Ghana Card for transactions requiring verification of identity.
After failing to begin the registration process after five announced deadlines, officials of the National Identification Authority (NIA) set up in parliament to register Parliamentarians as well as other staff of the legislature for the National ID card.
Officials at the Presidency were issued with the cards last week.
But Minority MPs have boycotted the process over contentions with the proof of citizenship accepted for the registration.
The NIA is only accepting passports and birth certificates to establish citizenship for the registration and instant issuance of the Ghana Card.
But the Minority wants the Voters’ ID card also to be accepted as proof of citizenship.