The Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation has revealed that the national SIM card re-registration exercise, will commence at the beginning of October this year.
Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, made this known on Sunday, September 5, during a press briefing. She made it known, that the exercise will last for 6 months.
Thus, all citizens nationwide are to re-register their SIM cards latest by March 31, 2022.
Citizens eligible to partake in this exercise are those above the age of 15 years.
Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful explained that the decision to re-register SIM cards stems from the increased use of communication services since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and to facilitate E-education, among others.
According to the Minister, people can only register their SIM cards using the Ghana Identification card.
“Only the National ID card, the Ghana card, issued to an individual shall be used for registration of Sim cards of citizens, foreign residents in Ghana and foreigners staying in Ghana for more than 90 days”.
In the case of foreigners staying in Ghana for less than 90 days, she noted that a valid passport or other travel documents will be required.
“Foreigners visiting Ghana can acquire a SIM card using the passport or travel card but they can only use the SIM card for 30 days after which it will be deactivated. Foreigners intending to use the SIM card for more than 30 days would have to obtain a non-citizen Ghana card to do so,” she added.
For a business to register SIM cards in bulk, a shareholder or a director of the company will have to be linked personally to the registration of the SIM cards.
Also, citizens can register a total of 10 SIM cards across all networks while foreigners will have a limit of three SIM cards across all networks.
The Ablekuma West MP cautioned individuals against undertaking dubious acts by registering in bulk under the pretence of being a company.
“Let me caution here that people should not think that they can hide behind businesses and register as many SIM cards as they want. All SIM cards registered to a business will be linked to a shareholder or director and if a business SIM card is found to have been engaged in fraudulent activity, that shareholder will be held personally liable,” she stated.
The Communications Minister mentioned reduction in criminal activities, accurate data for the National Communications Authority (NCA) as some benefits of the re-registration exercise to be undertaken with the Ghana card.
“This isn’t the first attempt to register SIM cards. All attempts failed because of the lack of a verifiable, secure identification document. The Ghana card provides the basis for a successful SIM registration this time around.
“When undertaken correctly, as we intend to do, it will reduce or limit fraudulent or criminal activities, help authorities ascertain the correct number of valid and accurate Sims on the networks. Enable operators to build better demographics of their customer base and help them develop products and services to suit the various groupings.
“NCA will also get more accurate data to regulate the industry even better.”
She further added that “Sim registration will enhance economic growth as more confidence is built in the telecommunications sector and people utilize secured devices to access E-government services and other private mobile base digital solutions.”
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful stressed that the period of defrauding citizens through false accounts of state officials and high ranking personalities on social media platforms would also come to an end.
She used the platform to reiterate that “no Minister or public sector official is offering jobs or favours on either LinkedIn, Whatsapp or Facebook for the payment of a protocol fee and filling of forms on such platforms.”
Meanwhile, government through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation has urged citizens to ensure they have their Ghana cards for a smooth registration process.
“We encourage all Ghanaians and foreigners resident in Ghana to ensure that they have their Ghana cards and non-citizen Ghana cards ready. Government believes that having a SIM database and Central Equipment Identity Registration (CEIR) with integrity is a key step towards enhancing our digitalisation. All subscribers are therefore encouraged to begin getting their national IDs in order to have a smooth and easy registration process.”
Also, media houses have been urged to partner with government and ensure the general public is duly informed of all required information ahead of the registration exercise.
In 2019, the Akufo-Addo-led government indicated that it would commence SIM cards registration in March, 2020. But due to the emergence of the coronavirus disease, the exercise was deferred.