All regional offices of the National Identification Authority (NIA) have begun card replacement and update services which, until now, could only be accessed at the head office in Accra.
Also, the El-Wak Stadium in Accra, which was made a premium service centre under a temporary arrangement, is now open to regular service, which at the moment is free.
The El-Wak Service Centre, which began operations last Monday, will serve customers who want to acquire new cards, update personal records, as well as verification and replacement of missing cards.
This arrangement will be in place until further notice.
A corporate affairs officer of the NIA, Henry Myers-Aboagye, explained that those arrangements were to ensure that the head office was decongested while making the service more efficient.
“Special arrangements put in place are always assessed and reviewed. It was after one of such reviews that management decided that services at El-Wak be made regular,” he explained.
According to Mr Myers-Aboagye, there were now two premium centres in the country — one at the NIA Head Office and the other at CAL Bank — where services were provided on scheduled appointments and also for foreigners resident in the country who, by law, were required to pay for the services.
Additionally, another regular service centre had been opened at the University of Ghana Business School, Legon, near the Presbyterian Boys’ SHS, bringing to three the number of special registration centres in Accra, he said.
Demand for the card soared following a directive that it is the only acceptable form of identity for SIM card re-registration, as well as other business transactions.
The situation was compounded due to a March 31, 2022 deadline set by the National Communications Authority (NCA) for the SIM card re-registration exercise. The deadline has now been extended to July 31.
To address the challenges, the NIA last February set up more mass registration centres at the El-Wak and the Accra Sports stadia, the Baba Yara Stadium (Kumasi), the Aliu Mahama Stadium (Tamale) and the Ghana National Fire Service (Regional Office) in Cape Coast.
These were in addition to the 16 regional and 275 district offices opened for the exercise.
In an interview, the Team Lead of the Accra Sports Stadium registration team, Richard Kofi Badu, said the registration exercise had so far recorded high turnouts.
He said the centre registered about 300 people daily, adding that the process had been smooth because people waited patiently for their turns, after being issued numbers.
“The only challenge we have had so far is technical; but when it happens, we do our best to resolve the hitch quickly,” Mr Badu said.