The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has said it is disappointed that Parliament has approved the budget for the Electoral Commission (EC) to go ahead to compile a new voter register ahead of the December polls.
According to the PPP, apart from the partisan posture adopted by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) in relation to the matter, the new voter register cannot be compiled without Ghanaians first obtaining their Ghana Card, which is currently being issued by the National Identification Authority (NIA).
“We believe that the compilation of any new voter register without the utilisation of the National Identification System infrastructure is needless and a waste of precious and scarce resources of the Republic of Ghana”, the PPP’s National Chairman, Nii Allotey Brew-Hammond, said in a statement on Wednesday, 8 January 2020.
“It is in this respect that we were gravely concerned and disappointed at the news that the Parliament of Ghana approved the budget for the Electoral Commission (EC) to compile a new voter register for the 2020 elections. We were disappointed not least by the excessive partisanship that characterised the approval by the NPP majority in parliament but more so when we, the government and people of Ghana, have launched and begun the implementation of the Ghana Card under the auspices of the National Identification Authority (NIA),” the statement added.
The PPP argued that with a year to the general elections, it does not think that the compilation of the new register is a necessary project to pursue when the same register was used by the EC for the district assembly elections and for the 2016 general elections.
The PPP said its reason for not supporting the new voter register is not political but situated in economics and development.
“Our position on the multiplicity of national identification systems should be well-known by all Ghanaians by now. The PPP has been an advocate for a single national identification database to be shared by state and private organisations. SSNIT, GRA, NHIS, EC, Birth and Death Registry, the Passport Office and all other State agencies have gone their separate ways. They spent taxpayer funds to build and maintain separate biometric systems. The National Identification Authority has started and re-started their identification project to give one the impression that every political administration must put in their own system without regard to what had been done by the previous regimes. The taxpayer suffers and the economy takes a backward step every time that happens. Why the rush with only 12 months to go for another national election?” the PPP quizzed.
“Teachers are crying for arrears to be paid. Contractors are desperately waiting for certified projects to be paid. As a result, completed projects are not being certified. Some indigenous financial institutions have lost their licenses because of the ‘no money syndrome’ and the unwillingness to clear so-called ‘legacy debts’. And yet, the NPP Administration can find GHS440 million for a ‘wanted but not necessary’ new voters’ register. We weep for our country Ghana! We must rise to the occasion and claim independence from our own elected colonialists to prove to the world that after all the Ghanaian is capable of rejecting wasteful regimes,” the statement added.
The PPP advised the Electoral Commission to use the current biometric register for the 2020 general elections saying “If it becomes necessary for the EC to compile a new voters’ register in future, we strongly recommend that the register should be compiled from the National Identification System.”