The Electoral Commission (EC) was on Thursday advised to roll out a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) scheme for Election 2016 to guarantee the integrity and public confidence in the biometric registration and verification system.
Consequently the next Government should seek funds to support the Commission to deploy information technology to run a credible, transparent as well as a free and fair General election.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minster of Communications who gave the advice at the Second Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Information Technology Association of Ghana (ITAG) in Accra, stressed that the move had become necessary if Ghana’s electoral process was to be effectively driven by Information and Communication and Technology.
He tasked Information Technology professionals to make meaningful suggestions and recommendations to the EC to ensure that the electoral and democratic process was improved and further deepened.
Mr Iddrisu suggested that it should be made possible for all the polling stations in the 275 constituencies to be equipped with computers and other ICT tools to reduce cases of multiple registration and voting and other electoral fraud.
He expressed optimism that an image recognition system would assist in giving meaning to the “one man, one vote” Ghanaian mantra.
Mr Iddrisu said, “We expect that by 2016, the Electoral Commission must move away from the barcode to the RFID system”.
RFID is the use of a wireless non-contact system that uses radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data from a tag attached to an object, for the purposes of automatic identification and tracking.
The tag contains electronically stored information which can be read from up to several meters away.
Unlike a bar code, the tag does not need to be within line of sight of the reader and may be embedded in the tracked object. The tag could be read if passed near a reader, even if it is covered by the object or not visible.
It could also be read inside a case, carton, box or other container, hundreds at a time unlike barcodes that can only be read one at a time using current devices.
Meanwhile, Mr Iddrisu has expressed Government’s commitment towards opening its frontiers of transparency and accountability in running its day to day administration.
He said the administration was also committed towards ensuring that the Right to Information Bill was passed into law.
The AGM served as the platform to launch the Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI) portal with the address www.data.gov.gh.
An open data is an idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republished without any license.
It is aimed at improving transparency and administrative efficiency.
Dr Nii Narku Quaynor, who doubles as the President of ITAG and the Board Chairman of National Information Technology Agency (NITA) said an open data regime offered the opportunity for the citizenry to contribute towards improving governance and policy formulation.
He said people in any given government were in the minority as compared with the citizenry, stressing that meaningful contributions from the citizens were critical for national development.
NITA is a public service institution established by Act 771 in 2008, as the ICT policy implementing arm of the Ministry of Communications.
NITA is the agency responsible for implementing Ghana’s IT policies including GODI.