Almost 10 million subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards that have been linked to Ghana Cards, but have not completed their stage two of re-registration will be blocked from the end of October this year.
The Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, who gave the warning in Accra yesterday, said all other unregistered SIMs would be blocked progressively.
“This is not an extension of the deadline but a temporary moratorium to encourage these individuals to complete the process. If they have any peculiar challenges, they should contact the National Communications Authority (NCA),” it said.
It said those who had not completed the process had no excuse since they had their Ghana Cards, and had ample opportunity to fully register their SIM Cards, including through the use of the self-registration application.
It said the NCA in collaboration with the National Identification Authority (NIA) would announce a special arrangement with registered amputees and other categories of persons.
It said arrangements earlier for SIM cards active outside Ghana and diplomats were still valid while data-only SIMs including those issued by Surfline, Busy Internet and others had up to the end of November to complete registration.
The statement revealed that some people had registered more than 10 SIM Cards for personal use and the database had identified the practice, warning that there would be a clean-up.
“They should, as a matter of urgency, delink the unwanted SIM Cards immediately because any excess SIM Cards over the individual limit of 10 SIMs per person would be removed from the database and blocked. It would address issues of pre-registered SIMS.
“Let me remind all SIM card vendors that it is an offence to pre-register and sell SIM cards. The NCA has been directed to conduct mystery shopping and enforce the law against those miscreants. If found guilty, they could be imprisoned for up to five years,” it said.
Despite the challenges encountered, including challenges with the acquisition of Ghana Cards, it said October 1, 2021 and October 4 2022, it said 28,959,006 SIM Cards have been linked to Ghana Cards (Stage 1 registration); representing 67.28 per cent of the 42,749,662 total SIM cards issued nationally.
It said 18,930,664 SIM Cards had been fully registered (Completed both Stages1 and 2) – representing 44.28 per cent of the total SIM cards issued. This equates to 69.64 per cent of all Stage 1 registrations with 13,720,687 unique Counts of Ghana Cards have been used so far for the registration exercise.
It explained that per Regulation 1(b) of the Subscriber Identity Module Registration Regulations, 2011 (L.I 2006) any SIM which was not duly registered in accordance with NCA directives could be activated on any network in Ghana.
The LI states “A network operator or service provider shall not activate a SIM for a subscriber unless the subscriber complies with the directives given by the Authority under the Act and the National Communications Authority Act, 2008, (Act 769) on the registration of SIM.”
The SIM re-registration exercise started on October 1, 2021 is aimed at reducing fraudulent and criminal activities facilitated by mobile phones; build a SIM database with integrity as well as aid in the determination of accurate number of valid SIM cards.
The initial deadline of March 31 was extended to July 31, 2022 then for the second time to September 30 to give many people who could not register due to delay with issuance of their Ghana cards and other reasons to do so.
BY TIMES REPORTER