Don’t go back on your word, NCA

 The National Com­munications Authority (NCA) has warned that it will deactivate more than 11 million active Sub­scriber Identity Modules (SIMS) by the end of May this year if the owners of such SIMs fail to reregister them by the said date and that with effect from June 1, 2023, SIM registration would involve only new SIMs.

The NCA says only Gha­naians on national duties outside Ghana, foreign diplo­mats and refugees exempted from the SIM registration exercise would be spared.

Others to be spared will be subscribers who genuinely prove that they do not have the Ghana Card to do the reregistration.

It will be recalled that the country began mass reregis­tration of SIMs on October 1, 2021, for the exercise to run till March 31, 2022.

A good number of sub­scribers could not beat the deadline and the exercise was extended to July 31 and again to September 30, making the reregistration a whole year’s exercise.

The NCA sometime along the line announced certain punitive measures against subscribers who may have not fully registered their SIMs by the end of the exercise but the measures were later withdrawn.

Should we trust the NCA this time that they would carry through their fresh warning?

The SIM reregistration was introduced, among other objectives, to build trust and confidence in the use of telecommunications, financial and other services, but that trust seems to be lost among a section of the public because the NCA could not be resolute enough with its stance and some criminals are using unregistered SIMs to defraud people.

If the NCA is truly com­mitted to ensuring the safety of innocent subscribers, then we wish to appeal that they should not abandon measures to do so henceforth.

That is not to say we do not have confidence in the NCA, but we think it is being too lenient and giving criminals the opportunity to exploit its leniency.

We stand to be corrected but it seems as things are now, it is difficult to fish out criminals using unregistered SIM cards to perpetrate crime on innocent citizens.

And we do not think we can be wrong to say the country currently does not have a reliable SIM Register.

However, we are glad that the NCA itself is aware that a reliable SIM Register will sup­port security and law enforce­ment activities to safeguard the common peace and also promote socio-economic development in the country.

Therefore, our humble appeal to the NCA now is that it should make all its stakeholders do the needful so that collectively, they can ensure the integrity of SIM cards and protect innocent subscribers from the activities of criminals.

For instance, the NCA should ensure the Nation­al Identification Authority deliver the Ghana Card to applicants and kill the excuse of non-registration of their SIMs all because of their not having the card.

Sometimes, one wonders if the criminals can work without assistance from bad elements within the telecom­munication network.

Even though for now, we cannot point accusing fingers at particular mobile network operators’ staff members, we still want to appeal that the NCA should make sure the operators strictly monitor staff members in charge of critical operations susceptible to influence of criminals.

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