Opinion: SIM registration blues; why policy makers must change policy implementation strategies

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The time has come for policy makers to think of how policies are implemented. For over the Past 5 years, government policies have been calculated to pick pocket the citizenry, the people they promised them gold but now giving them hardship.

The Minister of Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful and government have unfortunately failed woefully with the implementation of the SIM Card Registration exercise, and the reasons are simple; lack of effective consultation and the know-it all posture.

When many have called for extension of deadline for the SIM card registration for apparent reasons, scaling down to difficulty in getting the Ghana Card, the Communication Minister without recourse to any hindsight, publicly decided otherwise until the last day of the exercise. The question is, what changed her mind?

Why would any leader assume that they are in that position to be served rather than serving those who put them there. In my opinion the minster exhibited the former.

In her presentation to announce the conditional extension, the Ablekuma West lawmaker indicated that about 832,000 people have registered for the Ghana Card but yet to receive their Ghana Card.

Also, the statistics, the Minister herself gave, shows that out of the 42 million active usage of Mobile subscribers only, 16million have fully registered. The rest of the 26million people are yet to be registered.

This raises a very key concern about government’s resolve in providing an easy access to obtaining the Ghana card. Government could have instructed the NIA through the Interior Minister to work out a plan to ensure that the Sim Card registration exercise will be a continuous registration exercise like that of the Voter ID Card registration so every Ghanaian who struggle to obtain their Ghana card register subsequently. That could have prevented the unnecessary pressure and tension many have gone through in the last few months.

Also, the Minister should have taken sometime off to find out why almost 26million people have not registered their SIM Card, she would have concluded that the lack of registration boils down to this same systemic failure.

Aside this, the Minister has also failed to come down for feedback from the citizenry concerning this policy and also enforcing NCCE to enlighten Ghanaians on the importance of the policy and the need to register. The attitude of Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has shown that she has no respect for Ghanaians. Right from the get go, she knew that an App could be developed to make registration easier but no, she was interested in subjecting people to avoidable long queues, frustrations and hard times just to get a sim card you pay service fee for, to be registered.

As a citizen of this country, I can only advice the governing NPP, president Nana Akufo Addo and Hon Ursula Owusu Ekuful to be mindful that Ghanaians gave them the mandate to serve and not to be served. That is the only true meaning of power, anything short of that is a complete failure.

Again, for the Minister to put it across that those who have decided not pay the Quickloan would be traced clearly shows there is a data that can be used to monitor the registration to gauge it’s success, challenges and failures, that should be used to resolve the bottlenecks involved.

Finally, the NIA boss’ admission that registration of cards cannot be completed before the September 30 deadline means we are likely to come back to the issue of extension again. Like I mentioned before, there is no point putting a timeline on this exercise, let the registration continues throughout the year so all and sundry could participate. As for the payment of the 5 Ghana cedis charge on the app usage, that will be a story for another day.

I come in peace, Ghana will work again!

By Obed Opintan, citizen of Ghana, Aspiring deputy National Youth Organizer of the NDC

This article does not reflect the views of 3news.com

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