Minister of Communications and Digitization, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, has expressed optimism at the ongoing SIM card reregistration in the country.
The exercise, which is barely a week into its commencement, is going on satisfactorily despite a few glitches across the various telecommunication networks in the country.
“It is early days yet, and we are continuously monitoring the process but it is satisfactory. People are signing up for the first stage of the process of the project by linking their Ghana Card to the SIM cards and getting their unique IDs with which they will go to the service provider agent and have the process completed, “she said
Mrs. Owusu Ekuful emphasised that, individuals must go themselves to get their biometric data captured onto the system, cautioning that no one should send anyone to do this on their behalf, as such people will be turned away.
“It has to be done personally. No one can be sent,” she reiterated.
The minister, however, stressed the need for all Ghanaians to fully partake in the exercise if they want to continue using their telephone numbers by March 2022 signaling that all SIM not registered by then would be blocked.
On why biometric data of SIM users is being captured at the various Telcos centers, even when the National Identification Authority captured it on the Ghana card, Mrs. Owusu Ekuful explained: “even though we are linking data base, the primary repository of each data base still has its responsibility for maintaining and updating their data base.”
Reasons for the reregistration with Ghana Card
Head of corporate affairs of the National Communication Authority (NCA), emphasised that, the entire exercise in which the Ghana card is the sole identification card is based on Section 7 of L.I. 2111 which makes the use of the Ghana Card mandatory.
Nana Defie Badu in an interview on Joy News said there were issues with the 2010 registration where people used family and friends’ IDs to register their cards and mentioned that pre-registered SIM cards were also available and it didn’t make the database credible enough. Therefore, the reregistration exercise with the Ghana Card will make the database credible enough.
She noted that it helps to develop a SIM database with integrity and trust, saying: “we also want to boost and build some security regarding services which are based on the use of communication services. It will give operators the chance to know the exact subscribers that they have and be able to develop services around those demographic groups. It will help us as the regulator to develop and regulate the industry even better.”
Touching on why people need to visit the Telcos after linking their Ghana card to their phone numbers on their phones, Mrs. Badu said: “the Telcos need people to register their SIM cards and do them with correct documents because they use this SIM cards for other services apart from just communication services.”
She added that the two factor authenticating process will help to check to know that the person who is actually using the Ghana card is the same person since their biometrics will be captured since the Telcos do not have access to the data base of the NIA.
She finally said the exercise is six months long as the NCA does not want to rush the process especially in this COVID era and they need to educate people more on the process and give ample time for everyone to be able to reregister their SIM cards properly with the Ghana Card.