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Ghanaians should check abuse of birth certificates – Minister

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A Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah has called on Ghanaians, especially those working at the Birth and Death Registry to help check the abuse of the Ghanaian birth certificate.

Addressing the 8th Birth and Death Registration day at Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region, Mr Afriyie-Ankrah expressed concern about the use of the Ghanaian birth certificate and other documents by non-Ghanaians to apply for Immigration Services.

“The ease with which those unscrupulous persons manage to obtain Ghanaian birth certificates and misuse them, is an issue that needs to be checked and rooted out”, he said.

September 1, each year, has been set aside as Birth and Death Registration Day, since the first death, registered in Ghana was done on September 1, 1912.

The theme for the celebration was: “Early Births and Deaths Registration as a tool for National Development.”

Mr Afriyie-Ankrah said there was an instance where certain persons holding Ghanaian passports had been arrested and repatriated to Ghana only for the authorities to establish that they were not Ghanaians.

“Where did they get the Ghanaian birth certificate to apply for the passport”, he questioned.

The Deputy Minister said some people had engaged in insurance fraud, putting in claims for living relatives who were fraudulently registered as dead.

He said by this behaviour the miscreants end up destroying the credibility of Ghanaian documents and the reputation of the country in the eyes of the world.

The Deputy Minister said birth and death registration was essential for equitable distribution of limited national resources and also to put to rest arguments about the ages of the players of the junior national football teams.

Mrs Emelia Allan, a representative of UNICEF, said in countries where better coverage levels had been achieved, the key strategy for success had been linkages between the registry and other services such as early childhood development, immunisation and forming partners with groups.

She said UNICEF Ghana is interested in promoting this strategy.

Mr Anthony Ampong, Registrar at the Birth and Death Registry said in 2004 infant births registration was 48 per cent but due to the support from the registry’s valued partners the registration had moved up to 65 per cent in 2010.

According to him death registration coverage moved from 24 per cent in 2000 to 31 per cent in 2010.

He said the target for this year is 70 per cent for births and 50 per cent for deaths.

The Registrar commended its partners including UNICEF, Plan Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, Ghana Statistical Service, Ghana Health Service and Ghana Immigration Service for their immense contributions to support the Registry.

Mrs Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Regional Minister cautioned the gathering against using birth registration as license to produce more children they could not cater for.

She urged the Registry to strive to improve on coverage.

Mr Benedict Gyapong a representative of Plan Ghana said as a child-centered Organisation, it had undertaken a number of projects including birth registration as means to promote child development.

Mr Andres Kwesi Goode, Public Relations Officer of the Mfantseman Municipal Directorate of the Ghana Education Service said lack of the correct date of birth of children posed a lot of problems to school authorities when they are enrolled.

Alhaji Ishaq Asuru, Municipal Co-ordinating Director said the theme for the occasion was crucial because long-term planning based on correct date had helped the developed countries in their developmental planning.

Source: GNA

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