Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Ken Ashigbey, has revealed that the re-registration of SIM card by Ghanaians with the Ghana card is a national imperative.
According to him, there has been a decline in SIM re-registration following the “conditional extension” of deadline by the minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful. He indicated on the day of the announcement there were “people seated that the various MNOs centers ready to register and they just left”.
Mr Ashigbey noted that despite the fact that there are some persons who are to either get the Ghana cards or are “amputees who are not able to take their fingers as biometrics”, making them unable to get registered, there are some recalcitrant ones who just refuse to register their SIMs.
“We also have about 250 Ghanaians who attempted to do the registration and it tells them data already supplied but then there are definitely a lot of Ghanaians who have Ghana cards but are not taking advantage of the low queues that now exists at the MNO centres… So, it is important that we all recognize that this re-registration with the Ghana card is a national imperative.”Ken Ashigbey
Mr Asihgbey explained that due to the tendency of people attempting to defraud others through “social engineering”, it is important to get registered to identify such unscrupulous persons and also verify IDs. He highlighted that with the NIA, a very robust database system has been created to ascertain the identity behind a particular number.
“So, that’s the negative risks that we need to deal with.”Ken Ashigbey
To address the issue of decline in SIM re-registration, Mr Ashigbey expressed the need for government to separate those who don’t have the Ghana Card from those who have blatantly refused to register despite having their cards.
Building a robust database in the country
The CEO of the Chamber of Telecommunications emphasized that there are other opportunities if only the country had a very strong and robust SIM database which will serve as a digital identification. By this, he stated that products such as loans that are given, various insurance packages and other benefits that will be available to people are enabled through the use of digital identity of an individual’s mobile number.
Commenting on the impact of a robust database on the economy, Mr Ashigbey opined that it will help in ascertaining patterns for revenue of the informal sector to expedite some interventions for them if need be. Citing an instance, he revealed that such system can address issues of premix fuel in tracking its operations, emphasizing the need for government to work to ensure that as many people as possible could also get registered.
“In this country we have the tendency of calling some sectors of the economy as informal, which for me is derogatory, that is our real sector of the economy. The good thing that technology gives us is that, now if that database is robust, it enables you to deal with this informal sector, be it those in agriculture sector. So, the benefit for getting a robust SIM database which then becomes your digital identity has enormous benefits for us.”Ken Ashigbey