Cabinet has given policy approval for the submission to Parliament for consideration, a Bill submitted by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, to decentralize births and deaths registration, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has announced.
The objective of the Bill is to provide for a more efficient births and deaths registration system in the country, as well as decentralize the system effectively.
Among others, it seeks to expand the births and deaths registration coverage nationwide; devolve the functions of births and deaths registration to MMDAs; and ensure consistency of the births and deaths registration system with the Local Government Act, 2016 (Act 936).
Vice-President Bawumia made the disclosure when he paid a surprise visit to the head office of the Births and Deaths Registry in Accra yesterday.
Room for improvement
While efforts by the Registry, including public education and awareness creation, and boosting the capacity of the registry, had yielded an increase in birth registration coverage from 17 per cent in 2001 to an all-time high level of 80 per cent as at the end of 2019, this achievement is, however, still below the UN standard of 90 per cent coverage.
The Vice-President expressed delight at the rapid pace of work on the digitization of the paper records of the Registry, saying that would allow for the integration of its database with other state agencies.
“I am happy to learn that, thus far, 80 per cent of the paper records have been digitized and we should see the process completed by the end of this year or latest early next year. When completed, the database of the births and deaths registry will be integrated with that of the National Identification Authority (NIA) for the issuance of a single NIA number for everyone from birth to death.
“It is expected that this database will also be integrated into other agencies such as SSNIT and NHIA as part of ongoing efforts by the Akufo-Addo government to make the provision of public services easier,” he added.