The Minority in Parliament have raised issues with anindication by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia that all mobile phone users would be required to re-register their SIM cards or risk losing their numbers.
Dr Bawumia says plans are underway to ensure that all phone users re-register their SIM cards using the National Identification card by middle of this year.
He explains that the re-registration would really give phone users a real identity for all MoMo transactions to, for instance, take away fraudulent activities like SIM box and MoMo scammers.
However, the Minority say such an action would deprive a large segment of the users of Mobile Money service from accessing the service.
They maintain that registration of SIM cards is not the solution to the challenges of fraud within the electronic money ecosystem.
The Minority caucus argue that the decision by the government, as announced by the Vice President, is “unfortunately ill-informed”.
They explain that mandatory re-registration of SIMs would provide no substantial benefit in the fight against electronic money fraud and that it would present practical challenges such as in the case of inbound travellers who require a SIM card but would not possess the GhanaCard to register it.
They say a key area of electronic money fraud relates to the attacks on mobile money vendors and that the “re-registration of SIMS does not significantly mitigate this risk”.
They say the suggestion that only the Ghana card would be accepted as an identification document for the registration is “problematic” because such a singular identification method risks alienating a massive section of the society.
They claim only 17 million of Ghanaians, representing 55 per cent of the total population, have the Ghana Card.
The Minority also express concern about the expiration of the Ghana Card and call on the government to find an unexpired identification system for SIM registration and mobile money transaction.
They also suggest that the government should ask mobile network operators to invest – proportionate to market share – in advanced cyber security tools for fraud detection and mitigation, enhanced public sensitisation campaigns and monitoring systems, and additional personnel as these have been known to achieve monumental success stories in other jurisdictions with similar ecosystems.
The Ghanaian Times finds it difficult to give any judgement in this matter. The simple response, to us, is that the two parties, the government and the Minority, are both seeking the interest of the masses.
The truth is that the issues the Minority have raised should not be ignored by the government.
Our only worry is that the response from the Minority gives the impression that the two parties do not consult each other on pertinent national issues. If the government had done that before coming out with the issue of SIM card re-registration, we believe the Minority would have raised such issues for the government to review certain ideas.
The Ghanaian Times have no issues with the government and the Minority (representation of opposition) going their different ways on certain issues, but if they toe different lines concerning what constitutes the national good, then we would say both parties are doing the citizenry a great disservice.
Therefore, our suggestion is that when it concerns the national good, both the government and the opposition should give the people the best of reasons to agree that both parties deserve commendation for pursuing the national interest.