Data from the Electoral Commission (EC) shows that the country stands to save an amount of GHS173.07 million should a new voters’ register be compiled ahead of the 2020 general elections.
This means that procuring a fresh Biometric Voter Management System (BVMS) is less costly than upgrading the current register as many have called for, the EC claims.
IT consultant to the EC, Dr. Yaw Ofori-Adjei who made this known at a media encounter last Thursday said the commission will incur a cost of approximately GHS107.25 million to furnish the existing data centre but will only need about GHS39.51 million for both the construction and maintenance of a new data centre.
He added that keeping the old biometric system will cost $74.36 million as compared to the $56 million needed to acquire a new system which includes Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits and the Biometric Verification Devices (BVD).
Per the data, the total cost of using the old BVR system for the 2020 election is $38, 692,500.00 for the refurbishment of some BVR kits used in 2016 and the acquisition of new ones.
The total number of kits used in the 2016 registration was 5,500 while the number of kits that were refurbished was 1,500 with a $3500 unit cost of refurbishment making the total cost of refurbishment at $5,250,000.
Ghana needs an additional 6500 kits at a unit cost of $5145, totalling $33,442,500 according to the EC.
However, for the new system, the number of BVR kits required for the 2020 election is 8,000 at a unit cost of $3,000.00 , pegging the total cost for the new BVR at $24,000000.
The EC also wants to procure some 80,000.00 BVD kits at a unit cost of $400.00 making a total of $32M compared to the $ 35,672,000.00 if it refurbishes and purchases additional BVDs from the previous vendor.
Parliament has approved about GHS390 million for the EC to procure a new biometric system which has facial recognition technology and also compile a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 general elections.
Whereas some political parties backed the decision by the EC, others including the National Democratic Congress have resisted that the move claiming the decision is ill-timed and a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Officials of the EC had insisted that the decision to compile a new register was agreed by the various political parties as did not object to the proposal when it was tabled at Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting on March 27, 2019.
CSOs reject plan
18 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have rejected the Electoral Commission’s (EC) proposal to compile a new electoral roll ahead of the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
A press release signed by all the CSOs, noted that it will rather be prudent to; “open up the electoral register for voters to verify their names, update the existing software in ways to make it more efficient, remove names of persons suspected dead or who do not verify, work with the vendors to prime the hardware and where needed replace faulty ones and acquire new hardware to augment the existing stock and work with the existing systems rather than a full end-to-end replacement”.
“We reject the EC’s informal, off the grapevine, costing of the alternatives to a full end-to-end replacement. We stand ready to debate the EC in any forum it prefers about its costing”, they added.
EC’s Advisory committee to meet IPAC over new voters’ register brouhaha
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission’s (EC) Eminent Advisory Committee has called for calm following the heated arguments characterising the election management body’s plan to compile a new voters’ register ahead of the 2020 election.
The Committee has served notice to meet the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) to iron out concerns raised over the new register.
The Eminent Advisory Committee is chaired by a former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Short.