A self-service App is to be deployed to facilitate the ongoing SIM card registration exercise in the country by the close of June this year.
The measure forms part of strategies to reduce congestion at registration outlets, the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said in Parliament yesterday[June 23, 2022].
The exercise is being carried out by the ministry, in collaboration with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the National Communications Authority (NCA).
The minister also said the July 31, 2022 deadline for SIM card registration would not be extended.
She, therefore, urged citizens who were yet to register for the Ghana Card to do so before the deadline, since the card was going to be the sole primary document for the SIM registration.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma West, said “people went to sleep when the date for the deadline was extended by four months”.
The exercise was initially expected to end on March 31, 2022, but had to be extended to July 31, 2022, to enable all subscribers to register.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful was responding to a question on the floor of Parliament by the MP for Tempane, Lydia Lamisi Akanvariba, on urgent steps the ministry was taking to reduce overcrowding at SIM registration centres.
The minister, in her response, mentioned other measures to reduce congestion at the centres to include the increase in the number of agents and devices by MNOs and the extension of the registration exercise to communities, churches, mosques and event centres.
She added that all MNOs were also ready and willing to set up registration points in various offices when invited to do so, while community ICT centres and post offices had been included as service centres to expand the exercise to cover more people.
According to the minister, the SIM registration was intended to reduce fraudulent and criminal activities facilitated by mobile phones or SIM-enabled devices by helping the authorities to ascertain real numbers valid and accurate SIMs on mobile networks.
She added that it would also enable operators to build better demographics of their customers and develop products and services to suit various groupings while allowing the NCA to have a more accurate and credible database to regulate the industry better to enhance economic growth.
“It will minimise mobile money fraud, promote cybersecurity and support financial inclusion. A credible and reliable SIM register will also serve as a database, giving comprehensive statistics regarding the number of subscribers in the country and provide a resource for tracking fraudsters and criminals,” Mrs Owusu-Ekuful added.
She further said the SIM registration exercise was free for all subscribers, and that no fee was supposed to be charged.
“We have received information that some individuals are extorting various sums of money from the unsuspecting public under the guise of the registration exercise.
“We urge anyone who has knowledge of this or is a victim of this practice to report to the NCA through the toll free number 0800 110 622 and the hotline 0307 011 419 for appropriate action to be taken,” she said.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said her outfit had also directed the NCA and MNOs to put measures in place to clamp down on people who were taking advantage of the exercise to extort money from unsuspecting citizens.