Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) has released a statement saying the implementation of a new biometric voter management system (BVMS) could save the country millions of dollars when compared to upgrading the current system.
Dr. Yaw Ofori-Adjei, the IT consultant to the EC, said the cost of maintaining the country’s old biometric system was $74.36 million, while the cost of implementing a new one would be $56 million.
“This includes biometric voters registration (BVR) kits and biometric verification devices (BVDs),” he explained.
There is also money to be saved in building a new data centre ($7 million) to handle the registration of voters as opposed to maintaining the existing one ($19 million).
Ofori-Adjei also explained that the cost of acquiring new BVR kits — 8,000 kits at a cost of $3,000 each — would come out to $24 million, whereas $33.44 million would be needed to upgrade the old kits to handle the 2020 elections. Similar savings would be found in acquiring new BVDs versus the refurbishment of the existing older ones.
In speaking of the need to upgrade the existing system, Ofori-Adjei said that part of the reason for doing so comes from the old system’s servers being limited to 200 concurrent connections, while the EC has 260 district offices.
According to Ofori-Adjei, the new system’s server hardware would be able to provide higher performance and memory capacity than the older one, as well as offering three to five years of warranty and coverage support from the vendor.
While the EC has gained the support of 13 political parties in its attempts to secure the new system for the 2020 elections, opposition to the plan has been let by a coalition of civil society organizations called the CSO.
The CSO released a statement saying that if a new system with new data was needed then “the more appropriate, most lawful and financially responsible and justified approach will be to let the National Identification Authority (NIA) collect and process the information”.
The CSO statement went on to say that the information collected by the NIA could then be supplied to the EC for the election.
“The EC can then use that information to update its systems. This way, the nation moves forward and avoids the wasteful duplication of efforts at great expense,” said CSO spokesperson Kofi Bentil.
January 21, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis