SIM Re-registration: Minority punches holes in Bawumia’s directive

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The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddris has lashed out at the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia over his recent comments about SIM card re-registration in Ghana.

Dr. Bawumia, while speaking at the 5th Ghana CEO Summit in Accra, said in June 2021, all mobile phone users in the country would be expected to start re-registering their SIM cards using the Ghana Card, or they risk having their phone numbers deactivated.

The Vice President said the exercise is, among other things, to mobile-based fraud, particularly the rampant fraudulent activities in the mobile money space.

But in a statement, Haruna Iddrisu noted that undertaking a SIM re-registration exercise will not solve the issue of Mobile Money fraud as Dr. Bawumia claimed.

He said the Vice President is “ill-informed, inept and highly naïve,” for making that assumption.

“The solution to the challenges of fraud within the electronic money ecosystem goes beyond SIM registration,” he said.

Haruna Iddrisu also argued that Dr. Bawumia’s insistence on the use of only the Ghana Card for SIM re-registration is equally flawed because it denies other national visiting the country for the first time and it also denies people who do not have Ghana Card yet.

“We hold the view that the mandatory re-registration of SIM cards provides no substantial benefit in the fight against electronic money fraud, and will face practical challenges such as inbound travelers who require a SIM card without a national ID,” he stated.

The Minority Leader also explained that the insistence on only the Ghana Card for the exercise will mean that many Ghanaians will be left out since they do not have the card, while others who registered for the card are yet to receive them.

“The number of issued cards is only a pale shadow of the eligible population. The reality is that there have been only about 17 million registrations done of the Ghana Card. This represents 55% of our population. An even smaller proportion of the population has actually received their cards. It needs no saying therefore, that there are practical difficulties associated with the card as it is facing systemic and operational difficulties in its rollout,” Haruna Iddrisu said.

Again, he argued that attacks on mobile money vendors are more of a bigger challenge that needs to be addressed and that cannot be tackled by re-registration of SIM cards.

He also made a case about the poor timing of the exercise, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the government needs to be transparent with what the real intent for the exercise is.

“If the Vice President really desires simple solutions, he should consider instructing the BoG (Bank of Ghana) and the NCA (National Communications Authority) to set key performance indicators for the mobile network operators (MNOs) about electronic money fraud and with consequences for breaches,” he suggested.

He also proposed that the the Vice President should urge the MNOs to invest – proportionate to market share – in advanced cybersecurity systems including additional personnel, saying that “these have been known to achieve monumental success stories in other jurisdictions with similar ecosystems.”

Haruna Iddrisu expressed his conviction that a re-registration exercise will achieve very little and impose unnecessary burden on the citizenry.

Read the full statement from the Minority here.

Meanwhile, TechGh24 has learnt that a joint technical team comprising of representatives of all industry players and government are currently working on the modalities for the exercise ahead of the June start date.

TechGh24 also gathered that the NCA will used the Common Platform built and currently being operated by Kelni GVG to create a central SIM registry as part of the process.

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