The Minority in Parliament has posited that the decision by the National Communication Authority (NCA), to block unregistered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards is against the fundamental human rights of the affected persons.
It has thus called on the NCA to restore full service to affected SIM cards to allow subscribers have uninterrupted exercise in enjoyment of their right to communication.
In line with government policy to have all SIM cards registered using only the Ghana Card as the source document, the NCA, working on the instructions of the Ministry of Communication, has instituted punitive measures to limit service available on all unregistered cards effective Monday September 5, 2022.
But at a press conference in Parliament yesterday, Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said it was wrong for government to limit services on those cards when it had not provided all what was needed to facilitate the procurement of the Ghana card.
“The NCA is acting ultra vires in curtailing the exercise and enjoyment of the Right to privacy of communication. The government is proceeding erroneously as if every Ghanaian has a Ghana card. This is simply not true, it is not the case.
“The ministry and the NCA is simply ignoring the legitimate concerns of Ghanaians who are crying and saying ’we do not have the Ghana card, help us access this public goods.’
“Why should the NCA and ministry punish Ghanaians with a blockage of their SIM cards? Isn’t the NCA aware that significant number of Ghanaians, especially the poor have not been able to access the national ID that is the only medium for registering through no fault of theirs?” Mr Iddrisu, a former Minister of Communication asked.
The frustrations in registration of SIMs with telecom companies through third-party private entities and the NIA with a different mandate, he said, could only be attributed to the “repressive tendencies of this government.”
In the conduct of the SIM re-registration exercise, Haruna Iddrisu said “basic rights have been overlooked. Communication is a right and opportunity must be given to every citizen to procure communication services.”
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mr Iddrisu, said places premium on emergency telecommunication and to completely cut telecommunication services to subscribers for no other reason than to limit usage by citizens is the lowest point in a nation’s telecommunications development.
“It is a backward regulatory/policy prescription to follow in any regime. Too much reliance of rules/regulations exposes a communications system as immature.”
According to the Minority Leader who is also the MP for Tamale South, the mobile phone has become so essential to the daily activity of man that limiting access to the services on the SIM for even just a day could prove perilous to the bearers of same.
Describing government’s approach to the re-registration exercise as “contrived for a reason,” the lawmaker said people must not suffer for failures by the government to synchronise data from the telecommunication networks and the National Identification Authority.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI