Policy analyst at IMANI Africa, Selorm Branttie, has revealed that the Communications Ministry is unnecessarily rushing the SIM card re-registration exercise.
According to him, the Ghana card which is a fundamental requirement for the exercise is not readily available to every Ghanaian. He indicated that due to the delay in some persons acquiring their Ghana Cards, the Ministry should take its time in implementing deadlines for the re-registration exercise.
Mr Branttie noted that nothing will be achieved if defaulters still don’t have their Ghana cards to register.
“For some of us, this whole process is being rushed unnecessarily. The issue here is we are behaving as if the Ghana Card is something that is issued instantly. You are talking about a seismic change in the way we are going to be registering our SIM cards. For any process that is planned in this way, one of the first things that we have to look at is what we call dependencies. Now, we are in a situation where the major dependency for re-registering a SIM card under this new mandate is a Ghana card.”Selorm Branttie
Describing the move by the NCA to implement some punitive measures against persons who haven’t registered their SIMs as “draconian”, Mr Branttie explained that it is not a given that those processing their Ghana Card can get it instantly.
“… This is not the right way to run a national program. I am sorry but we are being recalcitrant and pig-headed in this approach.”Selorm Branttie
NCA to implement punitive actions against unregistered SIM cards
The National Communications Authority (NCA) announced on September 4, 2022, its decision to roll out some punitive actions against users who have not registered their SIM Cards.
The new move which takes effect today, September 5, 2022, has outgoing calls and data services for a sequential batch of defaulters’ numbers blocked for two days weekly on a rotational basis.
The NCA highlighted that these measures shall exclude blocking of SMS to give defaulting subscribers the opportunity to initiate registration if they so wish. Subscribers, the Authority noted, who fully register their SIM Cards within the period they have been blocked will only be unblocked by the MNOs after the 48 hours to avoid the MNOs tampering with their systems intermittently.
The Authority requested MNOs to liaise with the Electricity Company of Ghana, Ghana Water and other service providers to ensure that their data-only SIMs are registered duly. It further directed the MNOs to configure their systems to facilitate the use of passports for non-resident Ghanaians until December 31, 2022.
Meanwhile, a section of Ghanaians have kicked against this decision, however, others believe that the punitive actions will force people to register their SIM cards.
Prior to this, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Telecommunications Chamber, Dr Kenneth Ashigbey, expressed the need for stakeholders in the ongoing SIM re-registration process to find ways to get people to register their SIM cards.
He indicated that whereas a chunk of the population have genuine reasons for not being registered, some Ghanaians who have already gone through with linking their Ghana Cards to their SIM cards have refused to go ahead with their bio-capture at the various telco centres.