Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia says government is working to integrate the databases of the Births and Deaths Registry and the National Identification Authority to enhance citizens’ identification.
The integration process, which is expected to be finalised next year, would also allow newborn babies to receive unique identification numbers and use them to register with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust and the National Insurance Scheme when they grow up.
He said government had already digitised 80 percent of the Births and Deaths Registry’s manual data and would be completed by next year.
Vice President Bawumia gave the assurance on Thursday when he paid a surprise visit to the Headquarters of the Births and Deaths Registry in Accra to familiarise himself with its operations.
He was received on arrival by Reverend Kingsley Asare Addo, the Principal Assistant Registrar, who took him round the various departments including the Archives, Server and Computer Rooms to observe their operations.
Dr Bawumia assured of government’s commitment to providing the requisite resources to the Registry in order to speed up births and deaths registration processes.
“I’m quite impressed with the work you’re doing here. The Births and Deaths started operations in 1912 for births and 1888 for deaths and for the longest period they have been working to keep the records manually.”
“Few countries in Africa have huge depository of these data for such a long time and so we have begun the process over the last few years of digitising their operations.”
“So far, we have done almost 80 per cent of the manual records into electronic form, and by next year, God willing, we’ll finish the entire records,” Dr Bawumia said.
He added that the business processes of the Registry was being automated, adding that Cabinet had approved the Births and Deaths Registry Bill and would soon be laid before Parliament for consideration.
The passage of the Bill into law, he said, would help in decentralising and digitising the operations of the Registry.
“I believe that the digitisation process that has started when completed next year, would really enhance the efficiency of the operations and authenticity of documents,” he said.
Reverend Addo, on his part, outlined some challenges facing the organisation and asked government to, as a matter of urgency, find a permanent office for the Registry since it had been accommodated in temporary structures for the past 50 years.
The Registry had been re-equipped with new computers and servers but still used the old wiring system, which posed a huge challenge to its operations, he said.
“It’s about time the country invested in permanent and fitting structures to house all the data that we’re collecting from every corner of the country”.
Rev. Addo said it was important to report births and deaths early to be factored into the national plan and not wait till one urgently needed birth certificate to acquire a passport or death certificate to claim insurance benefit.
“It’s your civic responsibility that once birth occurs, you’re expected to start planning for the child, which has been added to the population and so we need to collect facts and figures and factor that child into national plan.”
“Additionally, when anyone dies, we should know the cause of death so that it will help Public Health Policy and target-setting,” Rev. Addo explained.