The Government of The Gambia recently announced the resumption of the issuance of ID Cards which was stopped more than a year and half ago. It was announced that from the 1st October 2018, citizens will be able to apply and receive their National Identity Cards at the cost of four hundred and fifty dalasis (D450).
However, this decision has caused a lot of brouhaha in the country mainly on two fronts. The first one is on the issue of the cost. It is said that D450 is too expensive and may not be affordable by majority of the people in the country.
The second reason that citizens are complaining is the company with which The Gambia Government signed an agreement to issue the ID Cards. Semlex, a Belgian company, is said to be under investigations in Belgium and has been accused of fraudulent behaviour in some other African countries like The Comoros and Congo.
The issuing of a National Identity Card is important because mostly citizens are asked to produce it in order to prove that they are citizens of the country when they go to banks, hospitals or some other important places in the country.
The importance of the ID Card is what makes it a document that should be easily accessible and affordable by all citizens. Pegging the price at four hundred and fifty dalasis will certainly be a burden on majority of the people.
Government should therefore find a way of reducing the cost so that the people will have the ability to get it without much difficulty. The current cost is unacceptable and does not reflect the plight of the many low-earning Gambians.