Registration of SIM cards begins October, failure to do so will be blocked – Ursula

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, on Sunday announced plans by the government to embark on re-registration of SIM cards from October 2021.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra, she said the exercise is mandatory for all citizens and non-citizens living in Ghana and it is backed by law.

Owusu-Ekuful announced that individuals are required to use only their Ghana Cards for registration.

“The Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation will launch the National SIM Card Registration Exercise across the country next month. Every subscriber is required to provide the name and residential or occupational address, date of birth, in the case of an individual; and Certificate of Incorporation, in the case of a body corporate; or registration, in the case of a partnership or an unincorporated body of persons and an identification document.

“Only the National Identity Card (Ghana Card) issued to an individual shall be used for registration of SIM cards of Citizens, Foreign Residents and Foreigners staying in Ghana for more than 90 days. In the case of foreigners staying in Ghana for less than 90 days, a valid passport or other travel document is required,” the minister said.

She said it has become imperative to re-do the registration again because miscreants managed to compromise the existing system making it difficult “to track and trace people who commit crimes with the SIM cards.”

“This isn’t the first attempt to register SIMs but all the previous efforts failed because of the lack of a verifiable secure identification document. The above situation also led to the influx of pre-registered SIM Cards in the system hence our inability to track and trace people who commit crimes with the SIM cards. The prevalence of fake IDs and a non-existent system of verifying the IDs, led to unscrupulous individuals procuring hundreds of SIM Cards for SIM Boxing leading to the loss of revenue for the state. The Ghana card provides the basis for a successful sim registration exercise this time,” Owusu-Ekuful said.

Benefits of registration

She outlined some of the benefits of SIM registration as follows :

SIM registration, when undertaken correctly as we intend to do, will reduce or eliminate fraudulent and criminal activities, help authorities ascertain the accurate number of valid and accurate SIMs on the networks, enable operators to build better demographics of their customer base and help them develop products and services to suit the various groupings. The Regulator, NCA, will also get more accurate data to regulate the industry even better.

SIM Registration will enhance economic growth as more confidence is built in the telecommunications sector and people utilize secure devices to access E-Government services and other private mobile based digital solutions. It will minimize mobile money fraud and support financial inclusion across the vulnerable sectors.

“Barring any unforeseen eventualities, SIM Registration will begin on 1st October, 2021 for a six (6) month period and end on 31st March, 2022.

Any sim which is not registered at the end of this exercise will be blocked”, she wrote on Facebook.

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