Last year, the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation, for that matter the government, announced re-registration of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards offered by the telecommunications companies in the country.
The initiative is meant to check the increasing incidents of fraud involving the use of the mobile phone and to monitor and track down persons who would use their phones for all manner of criminal activities.
That is to say that the exercise is targeted at securing the country’s cyberspace.
The re-registration was scheduled for October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 and the major requirement for it is the Ghana Card.
The exercise started in earnest but as is usual with Ghanaians, patronage was very low initially but gathered momentum at the beginning of this year when adverts on it insisted that it would end as scheduled.
Long queues have continued forming ever since and complaints of some people not having the Ghana Card either for not applying for it or not receiving it after going through the acquisition process.
The hue and cry culminated in individuals, groups and organisations calling for the extension of the period of the re-registrations, with Ghanaian Times even calling for eternal exercise since people would continue to acquire SIM cards in which case there would be the need to connect them to the Ghana Card.
That call was also premised on the fact that there were issues concerning acquisition of the Ghana Card.
The many calls seemed to have fallen on deaf ears as no action was taken, not even a statement made in response.
However, on Tuesday, the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation proved all skeptics wrong by announcing that it had extended the deadline for the re-registration of SIM cards from March 31 to July 31, 2022.
The ministry said the extension was due to the fact that over 7.5 million citizens were yet to obtain the Ghana Card to enable them to re-register their SIM cards.
The ministry added that more time was also required to update the SIM Re-registration App for the registration of diplomats, while a Self-Service SIM Registration App was also being developed to facilitate registration of SIM cards for Ghanaians resident abroad, a system which would be operational by mid-April.
The ministry said these issues made it imperative for the deadline to be extended to ensure that every eligible SIM card was captured for a credible database by the end of the exercise.
The Ghanaian Times is happy that if nothing at all, there is some extension, which gives some breathing space for those yet to go through the process, particularly those who do not have the Ghana Card through no fault of theirs.
The reasons the ministry gave with regard to the App for the registration of diplomats and a Self-Service SIM Registration App being developed to facilitate registration of SIM cards for Ghanaians resident abroad relate to unpreparedness of the ministry, the government for that matter, to ensure the success of the exercise within its initial scheduled time.
There is, therefore, the need for the ministry to do the needful within the extension period to eventually ensure the success of the exercise.
The National Identification Authority (NIA) too must put its act together to issue all applicants with the Ghana Card.
The excuses the NIA give for applicants having not been issued their cards may not be flimsy but it seems it is taking eternity for the problem to be fixed.
Public service providers in the country are in the habit of relaxing until the obvious, not the unexpected, happens and then they act as if they have been working all this while.
This must change and this can happen only when the society continuously demand accountability.
The Ghanaian too must drop the procrastination attitude and take part in all exercises in good time.