Consumer protection firm, CUTS International, has asked the Government to extend the deadline date for the SIM card registration to the end of the year.
That, it said, would allow the majority of Ghanaians acquire the necessary logistics such as the national identity card to enable them to register their sim.
Speaking at a news conference in Accra, Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, the West African Regional Director for CUTS International, said as a consumer protection organisation, it had received numerous concerns from consumers about the difficulty they went through in acquiring the Ghana Card to enable them to register their sim cards.
He said even some people who registered during the mass registration exercise in 2019 were yet to receive their cards.
Mr Adomako noted that while the organisation understood the rationale for the mandatory SIM card registration and the implication of unregistered SIM cards on crime prevention and detection, as well as, on government domestic revenue mobilisation measures, extending the deadline to the end of the year would ensure that those who had not registered were able to do so.
“Again, we are also not unmindful that not everyone would get registered should it be extended to the end of the year but those who would take advantage of the extension to register would outnumber those who would not register,” he added.
Data from the National Identification Authority (NIA) indicates that, as at July 21, 2022, about 800,000 Ghanaians were yet to receive or pick up their printed cards while several others had their cards misplaced or errors on the spelling of their names.
The SIM registration exercise, which commenced on October 1, 2021, was initially expected to end on March 31, 2022, but later extended to July 31, 2022, following public outcry.
Mr Adomako also warned that the telecommunication companies risked losing huge volume of revenue from their customers should the deadline not be extended as some had taken microloans from the mobile operators and disabling their sim card would create a substantial loss to the industry players.
Also, he said, the Government risked losing huge amount of revenue from the electronic transactions (e-levy) from customers should the deadline remained.
“As a way to compel those who have not registered their sim cards to register, perhaps, the Ministry of Communications can adopt a phased limitations on sim card starting from 1st September 2022. This could include limiting the amount of mobile money that an unregistered sim can send and or receive to a maximum of GHS 100.00 per day and maximum internet bundle to say 100MB per day,” he advised.
Mr Shadrack Nii Yarboi Yartey, Communication and Advocacy Lead for CUTS, said the use of mobile phone had become an integral part of everyday lives and that disabling the sim cards of Ghanaians because there could not register would deprive them of their source of livelihood.
“Its usefulness is enormous and has become a great source of livelihood for most Ghanaians. Disabling the sim cards of Ghanaians who haven’t registered their sim card is like depriving them of their livelihood,” he added.
He also urged the Telcos to improve both data and call network connectivity, and customer service delivery to consumers to promote speed of doing business in the country.