- Begins June, ends December
- Citizens, foreign residents can only register with Ghana Card
Communications and Digitalisation Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has announced that the nation’s quest to re-register all SIM cards will last for seven months. The exercise is set to begin next month and scheduled to end in December. During the period, all SIM cards owners need to re-register or lose their cards for life.
This was agreed by all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in a meeting held at the behest of the sector minister. It was decided that the seven-month period is ample time and provides enough space for SIM card owners to get their Ghana Cards to facilitate the re-registration process.
According to the minister, a lot of stakeholder engagements have gone on to ensure that the re-registration does not fail as other attempts in the past have done.
She added that the move is part of the digitalisation agenda of government, which is expected to accelerate not only formalisation of the economy but also help enhance national security and curb fraudulent activities.
Speaking at the 5th Ghana CEO Summit, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said: “We will re-register all SIM Cards and SIM-enabled devices from next month; and when the exercise ends in December this year all unregistered SIMs will be blocked. We must clamp down on all cybercriminals hiding behind the anonymity of digital systems to commit anti-social acts, and this exercise is a key part of that campaign”.
Why past attempts failed
Explaining why past campaigns have not been successful, she said: “Our inability to do this in the past has largely been the result of lacking a secured identity document to verify the identity of those who are registering for SIMs. Thankfully, due to government’s emphasis on empowering our National Electronic ID system that is now behind us, we have a secured document that we can use to identify every Ghanaian”.
“Foreigners residing in Ghana are expected to acquire non-citizen ID cards. All offices of the National Identification Authority across the country will from June 1 be open to serve people. We are timing the process to make it convenient for everyone.
“For visitors who are not resident here, they are expected to register their new SIM cards with their passports like we do when we travel to other jurisdictions. Foreigners who reside in Ghana are encouraged to pay a small fee and register for the Ghana Card.”
The minister said a strong public sensitisation programme will be rolled out soon to accompany the re-registration exercise. The programme is expected to target rural communities and ensure that many avenues are available for them to register their SIM cards during the period.