Mobile network subscribers will be required to re-register their SIM cards from January 1st to end of June, 2020, according to the Minister of Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.
Addressing journalists in Accra, the minister warned that failure on the part of subscribers to take advantage of the six month opportunity will result in having their SIM cards deactivated.
“Any SIM card which is not registered will be deactivated by June 2020, giving a six month time frame for this exercise. We entreat all citizens, residents and visitors to cooperate to ensure the success of this exercise for our collective security,” she said.
Giving the rationale behind the new directive, the minister noted that following the enactment of the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Regulations, 2011 (L.I. 2006) primarily to reduce mobile phone related crimes such as prank calls, cyber-crime, mobile money fraud and its related issues and general security, the Ministry of Communications has noted other deficiencies of the existing SIM card registration regime in Ghana including the sale of pre-registered SIM cards, the use of pre-registered SIM cards and fraudulent registration of SIM cards.
“Even though the SIM Registration regulations are still in force, it is not being enforced due to the lack of an acceptable, fake proof, Identification card and non existence of verification by a national database to ensure the traceability of the individual who registered the SIM card,” the minister admitted.
Blaming MNO’s in the country for the cause of the current deficiencies, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful accused some network operators of hiring illiterate or semi-illiterate agents to do the SIM registration on commission.
Explaining further, the communication minister averred that due to the monetary considerations, some agents cut corners and even pre-register several SIMs with different IDs for sell to unsuspected clients that seek SIMs.
“Reports received from some subscribers indicate that some agents registered SIMs without taking subscribers’ ID details, while others presented valid IDs for registration but later checks indicated their SIMs are registered in the names of other persons they do not know. Others indicated that some agents gave them an option to either buy a pre registered card or queue to register and some subscribers obviously opted for the pre registered SIMs to save time,” she claimed.
With approval from Cabinet, the minister of communication believes that the new move will help restore the confidence and trust in the entire ICT ecosystem and enhance the activities of the law enforcement agencies in clamping down on crime committed using these SIM cards.