On September 2, this year, the National Communications Authority (NCA) directed mobile network operators (MNOs) to start implementing “punitive measures” against persons who had not reregistered their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards with the Ghana Card.
The measures include the blocking of the defaulter’s outgoing calls and data services for 48 hours (two days).
The blocking is to be done once a week against five batches on rotational basis.
The idea, which has attracted some criticism, is to force those who are yet to reregister their SIM cards to do so by the end of this month, which is the deadline for the one-year SIM reregistration exercise.
Yesterday, telephony companies in the country –Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN), AirtelTigo, Vodafone and Glo Mobile Ghana–started implementing the punitive measures.
True to the expectation of NCA, defaulters thronged the various offices and service centresof the telecommunication companies tore-register their SIM cards to be able to have the full benefits of their use.
The NCA directive has paid off, though with its own problems, which is normal with the implementation of policies, programmes, projects and things like them.
It is not lost on anyone that the acquisition of Ghana Card, the only identification (ID) card needed by resident Ghanaians for the reregistration, has been beset with challenges.
The issue now is following the implementation of the punitive measures, hundreds of defaulters thronged the offices and service centres of the telephony companies to have their SIM cards reregistered.
In Accra, for instance, there were long queues of users of unregistered SIM cards, with some of them saying they arrived at the venues as early as 4:00 a.m.
When did these people get the Ghana Card they took for the reregistration?
Were they among those who had difficultyacquiring the card or they were some of the people who had showed lackadaisical attitude toward the exercise right from its beginning on October 1, last year?
The NCA action has come with the lesson that whatever the level of opposition, what is more important is to think through a policy, programme or project and implement it for the expected result(s).
There may be problems but they cannot outweigh the benefits and they can be resolved without much difficulty.
In the implementation of the reregistration punitive measures, some subscribers who have already done the reregistration have inadvertently been blocked.
The Ghanaian Times believes that such people can easily be unblocked, and their case used to guide the blocking of the remaining four batches.
Therefore, such unfortunate subscribers should exercise restraint for their problem to be resolved, and probably compensated with some data for calls and data services.
Since the punitive measures do not mean denial of the opportunity to reregister SIM cards, subscribers yet to reregister should do all they can to do so.
Should some subscribers fail to reregister within the stipulated time for unavoidable causes, it should not be difficult for the NCA and the telecommunications companies to give them special dispensation.
The benefits of the reregistration of SIM cards are too enormous to be ignored.