The Minister of Communication and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, in a statement signed has noted that, Over 2.8 million SIM Cards which are either partially registered or completely unregistered are to be blocked progressively beginning end of October.
According to the statement , over 23.8 million SIM cards include almost 10 million people who have complete stage one of the SIM Registration – linked their SIM cards to their Ghana Cards – but have not done the Stage 2 registration.
“There is no excuse for that because the owners of those 10 million SIM cards have their Ghana Cards, started the process and had ample opportunity to fully register their SIM Cards, either physically at their respective telcos centers or on the self-registration app but they have not done so,”the statement said.
However, out of the over 42.7 million active SIM cards in the country, some 28.9 million have been linked to Ghana Cards, representing 67.28%. Of that number, a little over 18.9 million have been fully registered – representing 44.28% of the total SIM cards issued and 69.64% of SIM cards linked to Ghana Cards.
” 13.7 million plus unique Ghana Cards have been used so far for the SIM registration exercise,” the statement noted.
Ursula Owusu-Ekuful stated that all SIM Cards that have been linked to Ghana Cards but have not completed Stage 2 registration will be blocked from the end of October.
She clarified that this is not an extension of the deadline but a temporary moratorium to encourage the owners of those SIM cards to complete the process.
“If they have any peculiar challenges, they should contact the National Communications Authority (NCA). These good people have the Ghana Card, have started the process and will be encouraged to complete it with this gentle reminder.
“All other unregistered SIMs will also be blocked progressively,” she explained.
Mrs. Owusu noted that, the NCA is in discussions with the National Identification Authority (NIA) on the registration of amputees and other categories of persons and will make an announcement shortly on arrangements made to accommodate them.
She said,”the provision made earlier for SIMs active outside Ghana and diplomats still stands”.
Meanwhile, all data-only SIMs, including those issued by Surfline, Busy Internet, Telesol, and any institution such as ECG, have up to the end of November to complete registration.
The Minister said some people have registered more than 10 SIM Cards for personal use and the database has identified it and will clean it up.
She tasked such persons to, 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 will be removed from the database and blocked which will also address issues of pre-registered SIMS.
Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said the NCA has been directed to conduct mystery shopping and enforce the law against those miscreants and persons found guilty could be imprisoned for up to five years.
She stated that the government is fully committed to ensuring that the country has a safe digital ecosystem underpinning our collective cybersecurity.
The Minister added that a successful SIM Card registration exercise is an essential part of this goal and appealed to all to put the national interest first and do the right thing for this country.
Regulation 1(b) of the Subscriber Identity Module Registration Regulations, 2011 (L.I 2006) states that “A network operator or service provider shall not activate a Subscriber Identity Module 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 Subscriber Identity Module.”
This imposes a legal obligation on all Network Operators to activate only SIMs registered in the manner prescribed by the NCA on their network.
Any SIM which is not duly registered in accordance with NCA directives cannot be activated on any network in Ghana.
NCA therefore, has the power to issue directives detailing the entire procedure for SIM registration and to impose penalties/sanctions for noncompliance with the Directives.