Review decision to use only Ghana card for SIM re-registeration – STRANEK- Africa

The Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK-Africa) has asked the government to review the decision to use only the Ghana Card as a form of identify for the SIM card reregistration exercise.

A statement by STRANEK on Wednesday October 13 said “It is said that Ghana Card is a powerful tool and has an electronic passport on it which will be used as passport to West African countries and foreign travels in future.

“Since Ghana is not there yet, STRANEK-Africa has been pondering how Ghana Card is the only card to register SIM Cards. The National SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) Card Re-registration Exercise has commenced per the directive by the Communications Ministry which took effect on 1st October, 2021. The Ministry of Communication has used the Subscriber Identity Module Registration Regulations, 2011, L.I. 2006 as the authority to mandate network operators or service providers to activate a SIM only after the subscriber registers the SIM. However, it has mistreated section 7 of L.I. 2111 which makes the use of Ghana Card mandatory but not the only identity card for the purposes of registration.

“STRANEK-Africa wishes the Ministry of Communication will take a second look at our ongoing SIM Card Registration exercise. There should be an alternative where different IDs can be used to register SIM Cards. Passports, the Driver’s licence currently are stronger IDs than the Ghana Card since the Ghana Card is largely filled with unverified GhanaPost GPS addresses. In effect, most of the GhanaPost GPS addresses are not linked to the physical addresses of registrants per our fastidious checks. If one of the reasons for SIM card re-registration is to fight fraudulent activities, then the fight is akin to a battle of Waterloo. Reasons are that, majority of Ghanaians do not have a fixed place of abode but rather, they are highly residentially mobile. Simply presenting an ID card is a mitigation but not the solution to fight SIM based digital crime. There must be some form of liveliness test to accompany a credential, and also another to establish true ownership of the document presented.
“For that matter, such data compiled by the National Identification Authority to fight SIM based digital crime will fall flat. Passports, Driver’s Licence, Voter’s ID should be allowed as one of the requirements for SIM card registration.
Most Ghanaians work on weekdays so it becomes difficult for them to visit the nearest NIA offices by leaving their busy schedules to form queues to do registration and collect their cards during weekdays.

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“Government through the National Identification Authority (NIA) can also rely on the databases of the DVLA, Passport Office in addition to the database of NIA since initially, they were mostly the bedrock for most SIM registrations. Registration and collection of Ghana cards should be extended to weekends to make it easier for those who cannot register or collect their cards during weekdays.

“Moreover, Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Communication should take a look at digital ID in addition to the physical ID cards issued so that people do not only have to hold physical ID cards before they engage in transactions but can have a digital ID of those physical ID cards as done in Nigeria among other countries to do transactions as well. Let us all come together in building our motherland, Ghana.”

On this same matter, it is recalled that President of Imani Africa Mr Franklin Cudjoe, raised concerns against the use of the National Identification Card as the only form of identify in the SIM card re-registration exercise.

The six-month exercise is scheduled to begin today, Friday, October 1.

It is expected to take data from all SIM card users across the country.

The National ID card, the Ghana Card, is the only document of identification for the exercise.

Announcing this early last month, Minister of Communications and Digitalisation Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said the exercise has been necessitated due to the increased use of communication services since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and to facilitate E-education, among others.

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“Only the National ID card, the Ghana card, issued to an individual shall be used for registration of SIM cards of citizens, foreign residents in Ghana and foreigners staying in Ghana for more than 90 days.”

She added: “Foreigners visiting Ghana can acquire a SIM card using the passport or travel card but they can only use the SIM card for 30 days after which it will be deactivated.

“Foreigners intending to use the SIM card for more than 30 days would have to obtain a non-citizen Ghana card to do so.”

A maximum of 10 SIM cards can be registered by an individual and they should not be below 15 years of age.

Commenting on this in a Facebook post, Mr Cudjoe said “So, whose brilliant brainless idea is it to say that passports are not legitimate IDs for the needless SIM re-registration exercise?

“If there are fake SIM cards in the system, how is that the doing of those millions of us who registered earlier legitimately? Shouldn’t the Telcos be asked to identify and block those fake cards?

“Exactly how will the National ID card being the sole identity requirement for a RE-REGISTRATION of all SIM cards prevent the infiltration of fakes? Nor can any ID actually  do so? So, if we all yield and re-register, we will not have fake IDs, ever? And if there are fakes in the near future, we all get asked to re-register again? What is this?”

By Laud Nartrey||Ghana