The National Identification Authority (NIA) has said its decision to continue with the mass registration exercise after the government’s ban on all public gatherings in the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country does not constitute a violation of the directive.
The NIA has come under criticism for going ahead with the mass registration for the Ghana Card with some calling for an end to the exercise.
The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) is one such Association that has asked the NIA to hold on with the Ghana Card registration following the coronavirus outbreak in Ghana.
The GMA said the registration, if not stopped following Ghana recording nine cases, will further endanger the lives of the staff of the NIA and Ghanaians in general.
A statement issued by President of the GMA, Dr Frank Ankobeah, said the NIA’s continues registration also violates the order given by the president against all social gatherings.
Reacting to the criticisms in a Facebook post on Thursday, 19 March 2020, the NIA noted that its “conduct does not violate the President’s directives on public gatherings in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the contrary, the NIA decision is harmonious with both the letter and spirit of the following equally compelling directive” of President Akufo-Addo that “businesses and other workplaces can continue to operate, but should observe prescribed social distancing between patrons and staff.”
It continued that the country is “not in a lock-down, and the business of Government is not expected to cease” reiterating that the activities of the NIA are “consistent with this position and the above directive of the President. The issue is not whether or not NIA should continue with the registration exercise but rather its implementation of the social distancing and personal hygiene protocols.”
The NIA further continued that it is using “a numbering and appointment system to manage queues at the registration centres and ensure that there is no crowd build-up and violation of social distancing protocols. All NIA field staff are being supplied with the requisite Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs), such as hand sanitizers and gloves. Veronica Buckets, water bowls, liquid soap and hand towels are also being provided at each registration centre.
“In addition, applicants’ details and telephones numbers are taken on arrival, and they are given specific times to report at the centre for registration or card issuance, instead of congregating at the centres. All staff and applicants at registration centres are regularly advised by the Supervising Registration Officer (SRO) to observe the appropriate two-meter social distancing instruction, as well as personal hygiene protocols”