President John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday called for an effective collaboration between the National Identification Authority and other agencies to produce multi- purpose identification cards for all citizens.
He said the production of such multi- purpose cards would save Ghanaian citizens the ordeal of carrying numerous identification cards throughout their movement in the country.
President Mahama made the call when he inaugurated a Vessel Traffic Management information System (VTMIS) of the Ghana Maritime Authority in Accra.
The VTMIS, which is an integrated system established to enhance continuous electronic surveillance on the entire coast of Ghana, includes; an automatic identification system for vessels, crafts operating on the Volta Lake and long range identification and tracking of ships functionality and weather sensors.
The inauguration of the system, would among other things, contribute towards improving maritime security, safety of navigation, search and rescue operations, as well as protection of the marine environment and the prevention of marine pollution in the seas.
It would also deter illicit transactions involving all sorts of organised crime such as human trafficking, drugs peddling, armed robbery and piracy within Ghana’s maritime domain.
President Mahama noted that although similar differences existed, the Telecommunication companies regarding the sharing of gadgets and machinery, their subsequent cooperation yielded a lot of dividends.
“Their sharing also saved them lots of Cedis as they now use common facilities for their transmissions and other functions,” he added.
He said the inauguration of the VTMIS had demonstrated that with collaboration, a lot could be achieved, and appealed to agencies involved in the installation of the systems, to step up collaboration to achieve their target goals.
The President said the installation was also timely, as there had been some threats at the Gulf of Guinea, and gave the assurance that it would serve Ghana and her neighbours in coming years.
He said the installation had also demonstrated the unity among various agencies engaged in the systems, and urged them to keep that spirit for effective functionality of the maritime authority.
He pledged governments’s commitment to support them to achieve their targets of warding off criminal activities at the coastal areas of the sub- region.
Mr Peter Issaka Azumah, Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, said the installation of the system would ensure maritime safety administration, provide advance information on the arrival of vessels, and facilitate quicker turn rounds of vessels at the seas.
He said it would also aid in directing and coordinating search and rescue activities at sea, and enhance the monitoring of government gazetted safety zones and restricted areas by trigger alarms as unauthorized vessels enter these zones.
In spite of all these, Mr Azumah said, there had been irregular cash flow into the coffers of the authority, explaining that although they were supposed to be sharing 50-50 of government subventions with the Ghana Shippers Authority, they had not received a pesewa since January this year on account of an impasse.
He, therefore, called on government to intervene to ensure a peaceful resolution that would enable them to take up their rightful positions in the maritime domain.
The Director-General also appealed to government to support them to acquire a commercial soft loan that would enable the Authority to construct a 12- storey office complex as they had the capacity to generate more funds in the coming years to repay. GNA