The minority in Parliament is making a case against the re-registration of all Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards as directed by the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization.
The exercise, which started October 1, is in two phases; linking one’s Ghana Card to a SIM card and then physically visiting an agent of a service provider by a SIM card holder for an integration process to be completed.
As part of the policy directive from the Ministry, failure to register one’s SIM within a six-month period could lead to one losing their phone numbers entirely. This means that one must have a Ghana Card to be able to register a SIM card.
The Minority in Parliament finds this worrying.
Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ningo Prampram Constituency and member of the Communications Committee of Parliament, Sam George, said the move is not justified.
“In as much as we support any attempts to sanitize the digital ecosystem, we strongly oppose any abuse of policy to unnecessarily inconvenience the citizens of Ghana. We find it most inappropriate that the policy directive issues a fiat of deactivating SIM cards that are not linked to the Ghana Card within the next six months. This we believe is a retrospective application of legislation and a tunnel visioned approach to sanitizing the industry”, he said in a press conference.
He said neither the law on the registration of SIM cards nor the law on Ghana Card makes it compulsory for the two to be linked.
“The current legislation that backs SIM registration in Ghana is the LI 2006 passed by Parliament in 2011. This legislation saw the registration that happened in 2012. This Legislative instrument does not mandate the linkage of the Ghana Card to activate SIM cards. The National Identification Authority Act, 2006 (Act 707) and LI 2111 which introduces the use of the Ghana Card as the principal document for registration of SIM cards and Bank Accounts amongst others cannot be applied retrospectively to SIM cards that were registered legally and legitimately under the existing Ll 2006. Section 7 of LI 2111 makes the use of the Ghana Card mandatory but does NOT make it the sole card for the purposes of registration.”
He said the Passports Office may, taking a cue from this exercise, in the future demand that all passports be “revalidated because a few holders may have falsified the birth
certificates or other primary documents used to acquire their passports.”
The minority insists it’s not pragmatic to demand that all SIM cards be re-registered because a few were registered “fraudulently” and that “the claim that linking a SIM card to the Ghana Card would prevent fraud is flawed”.
They thus want among other things the immediate withdrawal of the threat of deactivation of valid SIM cards by March 2022 and the scrapping of the physical visit to an agent of a service provider to complete the process.