Ahead of the September 30, 2022 deadline for the re-registration of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards in the country, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has issued a stern caution to customers of mobile money loan facilities who are seeking to avoid repayment by not registering their SIM cards – warning that such an action will have dire financial and legal implications for defaulters.
In a tersely-worded statement, the Bank noted that some customers have gone as far as discarding their SIM cards purposely to avoid repaying the outstanding facilities.
The regulator however indicated that the transaction data of customers who have acquired loans from regulated entities – mobile money platforms included – sit in the databases of credit bureaus; and as such, there is nowhere to run as defaults will dent their credit ratings and significantly affect their ability to acquire other facilities in future.
“The Bank of Ghana’s attention has been drawn to some individuals who have acquired loans through mobile money platforms but have deliberately refused to register their SIM cards under the ongoing national SIM Card registration exercise, with the intention of avoiding repayment of the acquired loans.
“The Bank of Ghana wishes to inform the general public that data on all mobile money loan customers are domiciled in the databases of credit bureaus. As a result, failure to repay such loans will attract negative repercussions on borrowers’ credit reports and history, andubsequently could adversely affect any chance of obtaining loan facilities from other financial institutions and credit providers in future,” the BoG elaborated.
The regulator admonished borrowers who have discarded their SIM Cards to contact their respective telecommunication service providers or lenders to discuss possible repayment arrangements to avoid loss of access to credit at a later date.
The development comes as uncertainty remains over the extent to which the Ministry of Communication and National Communication Authority (NCA) will enforce its directive to bar services to unregistered SIM cards, in what appears to be their final deadline on the subject.
Following the pen-ultimate deadline at the end of August some subscribers suffered sanctions including limitations to outgoing calls and the use of data services – resulting in a flurry of lawsuits against the implementing entities.
Data from the NCA indicate that at the end of July there were approximately 42 million voice SIM cards, with only 16.6 million being fully re-registered at the time.