Minority urges Communication Ministry and NCA to complement each other for smooth SIM re-registration

Haruna Iddrisu – Minority Leader

The Minority in Parliament Tuesday urged the Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation and National Communications Authority (NCA) to work together to ensure that Ghanaians do not suffer unduly in the SIM re-registration exercise due to the perceived competition between them.

“The present level of competition leaves much to be desired,” Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, said in Parliament.

“A return to the monopoly days or any operation of pseudo-competitive environment or duopoly will be an unpardonable indictment.”

Mr Iddrisu said Ghanaians should not be punished with a blockage of their SIM cards, especially when a significant number had not been able to access the national ID, the only medium for registering, through no fault of theirs.

Addressing the Press Corp in Parliament, Mr Iddrisu said the Ministry and the NCA were ignoring the legitimate concerns of Ghanaians, who were saying they did not have the Ghana Card to facilitate their SIM re-registration.

He said the government was proceeding erroneously as if every Ghanaian had the Ghana card, adding: “This is simply not true, it is not the case.”

“Digitalisation, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are directly tied to key fundamental rights including rights to privacy and communication as no person should be subjected to interference with the privacy of his or her communication….” he said.

The frustrations in the re-registration exercise with telecom companies through third-party private entities as well as the NIA having different mandates could only be said to be “repressive”.

“Why is the Minister and the Government for that matter not acting with the same zeal and alacrity to ensure that Ghanaians achieve a successful transition from analogue radio and television to digital terrestrial radio and television, since the switch-over deadline has long passed,” he asked.

Mr Samuel Nartey George, the Deputy Ranking Member on the Communications Committee, said the Minister had a responsibility to the Ghanaian people to ensure there was prudent use of the taxpayer’s money.

“If she chooses to go ahead with this illegality, there are court procedures ahead. We will fight it, we will stand with our constituents,” he said.

Mr George, the Member of Parliament of Ningo-Prampram, urged the Communication Minister, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, not to roll the exercise with sanctions but ensure the service benefitted all.

He said the resort to (L.I 2111) as the basis for the sole use of the Ghana Card as an identification document was untenable as the Legislative Instrument did not make it a sole identity but only described it as principal document.

Source: GNA

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