Mr. Dan Botwe, Minister of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development (MLGDRD) reiterated the government’s commitment to strengthening the identity management ecosystem in the country.
He said the government is ensuring that policies, laws, regulations and guidelines are available and implemented at all times.
Mr Botwe said as much during the launch of this year’s Births and Deaths Register Mass Mobile Registration in Accra.
The Mobile Mass Registration Exercise, an annual program launched by the Births and Deaths Registry in conjunction with the MLGDRD in 2004, aimed to improve and encourage early infant registration and publicize its services across the country.
The President echoed the Government’s commitment to improve the identity management system in the State of the Nation Address to Parliament in February 2022 as it charts the course for technology and digitalization economy.
Mr Botwe said the ministry spearheaded the enactment of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 2020 (Act 1027), passed by Parliament and approved by the President in October 2020 to obtain credible data on births and deaths.
He said that the provisions of the law leave room for decentralized operations and clearly outline the functions of the registry and that within 12 months of the law coming into force, the Births and Deaths Registration Regulations , 2021 (LI 2436) was adopted.
The minister said the revised legal frameworks tasked the registry with developing a robust and credible registration system to enable the registration of all births and deaths occurring in the country within a specified time frame.
He said raising awareness and general understanding of birth and death registrations, which would provide reliable and credible data, was essential in the planning and development of the government’s socio-economic programmes.
Therefore, Botwe said, steps have been taken to integrate registration systems with relevant government agencies to improve administrative data collection.
He said the registry’s engagement with key institutions, including the National Identification Authority, the National Health Insurance Authority, was to ensure that every child born received a unique identification number that would stay with him forever.
“You will be interested to know that from zero to twelve months (0-12) birth registration is free. Likewise, registration of deaths within the first ten (10) days after the event is free,” he said.
The minister said that in 2021, 80% and 17% of birth and death registrations were registered respectively, but he lamented the minimal importance given to death registration, which was one of the biggest registration system constraints.
Mr Botwe said section 32(4) of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 2020 (1027) required that a person who conducted a burial must inspect the death certificate and the burial permit before proceeding with the burial, therefore, citizens must comply with it.
Article 7 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has the right to a legally registered name that is legitimately documented by the government.
This, Botwe said, was also in line with Sustainable Development Goal target 16.9, which called on countries to provide legal identity to all, hence an unregistered child, he said, risked being excluded from social intervention programs.
He said that through the efforts of the Vice President’s office, the registry received 2,450 tablets from the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and eight vehicles under the project to harmonize and improve statistics in East Africa. West (HISWAP) funded by the World Bank to strengthen statistical systems in the West African sub-region.
The tablets are expected to help speed up data collection across the country and improve the country’s civil registration and vital statistics systems in the medium to long term.
He urged the management and staff of the Registry to continue working hard to create a safe and friendly environment for the public in their operations.
“I commend the registry in its efforts to automate its operation and services to the public by piloting an online payment portal at Ghana.gov and also establishing a call center to respond to inquiries from the public,” a- he declared.