Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has strongly defended the controversial comment about his preference for Ghana Card over a thousand interchanges.
Speaking at the Accra Business School, Dr Bawumia said the national identification card is more beneficial than 1,000 interchanges.
“We have implemented a national identification system and today we have 16 million Ghanaians with unique identities and that is a major transformation. And sometimes a lot of people don’t even appreciate what the impact of the Ghana card is.
“But if you gave me 1,000 interchanges and a Ghana Card, I will choose the Ghana Card because it is more impactful,” he said at the Accra Business School.
This comment generated an uproar among a section of the public and the opposition NDC.
Over two weeks on, the Vice President has responded to his critics. He sought to justify the comment while addressing participants at the Civil Service Awards ceremony on Friday.
“You can imagine the furore it caused with people asking is this man crazy?” he quizzed.
Dr. Bawumia, in explaining his comment, said “for the first time in the history of our country we have a unique identification system which is biometric and so we can uniquely identify every individual whether they are alive or dead.”
This situation, he believes, will eliminate ghost names from public payrolls and potentially save Ghana millions of cedis.
“So immediately … the case of ghost names on our public sector payroll will become a thing of the past…at National Service Scheme we found 14,000 ghost workers saving annually 114 million Ghana cedis just from one institution because we look for unique identity. Just a couple of days ago SSNIT reported finding 27,000 ghost pensioners and they were being paid 327 million cedis a year.”
The Ghana card number, according to the Vice President, has also become the TIN number for Ghanaians and will help integrate databases and improve tax collection and consequently rake in more revenue for the country.
These savings among many other benefits Ghana stands to gain, he insists, informed his comment about preferring a Ghana Card over a thousand interchanges because not only will it save the country millions of cedis, but will also help cut back on corrupt practices.