The Executive Director of Solidaire, Mr Benjamin Essuman, has said the exercise by the National Communications Authority under the Ministry of Communications, calling for the registration of all SIM cards in the country, will not work. He made the statement in an interview granted 3FM, an Accra-based radio station.
"This will not work, due to certain factors," Mr Essuman said. "This is not the first time we are doing SIM card registration in Ghana. And all the ones we did in the past, we used national identification cards, either your voters ID card or your driver's licence, or you used your passport, or you used your Ghana card, if you still had."
Mr Essuman went further to explain the circumstances which led to the failure of the previous registration exercises. "It was about the approach with which the government conducted the business that we didn't get the results that we wanted. And today, I am telling you that this one will also become a fiasco, a year from today. Mark it on the wall! A year from today, you can call me for us to be talking about the prevalence or the existence of SIM box fraud and SIM card fraudsters, and people calling you to scam you, you know, to send MoMo to a certain number and this coming and all that. It is the approach!"
The Minister of Communications and Digitisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has given October 1, 2021 as date set for the beginning for businesses and individuals in Ghana to register SIM cards. The exercise is slated to end by end of year, December 31, 2021. All existing mobile network subscribers are required to present a Ghana card to enable them register up to 10 SIM across all mobile networks. Foreign nationals would have to present a national passport and a limit of three SIM cards to register before the end of the exercise date of December 31, 2021.
Businesses, however, need to present certificates of incorporation from the Registrar-General’s Department for corporate registration. The Minister made these disclosures on Sunday at Accra, during the Minister's briefing. She added, that those who failed to meet all the above stipulations would have their SIM cards blocked.
The SIM card registration exercise is aimed at curbing SIM boxing and fraud, using fake SIM card. It is in accordance with Subscriber Identity Module Registration Regulation, 2011, LI 2006. The exercise is also expected to build better customer database to assist service providers to develop better products and improve services. On the reverse, it will enable the regulator access accurate data to regulate the industry with efficiency. The Minister announced a planned establishment of a Central Equipment Identity Registry to track trade in counterfeit, inferior and substandard devices and in tracing smuggled and stolen devices.
Mr Essuman however maintained that until the system of selling sim cards on the streets is changed, there still will be loopholes that will lead to an abuse of the registration processes. He explained that by selling sim cards like any other commodity on the streets without an applicant subscriber having to provide enough details which can be confirmed by the registration officer and computed into a system for final confirmation and activation of the sim card, the entire exercise will lead to a fiasco.
"You can't continue to sell sim cards and register same on the streets, at Circle, on table tops, under umbrellas, etc and expect a different result" He said.