Ghana’s Communication and Digitisation Ministry has called on all residents of the country to re-register their existing phone numbers or lose them by the end of March 2022.

Communications and Digitisation Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has urged Ghanaians to participate in the ongoing mobile SIM re-registration exercise before the deadline, as failure to do, she warned, would lead to the deactivation of their SIM cards.

An initiative to control cyber crimes

The country began the re-registration of mobile SIM cards on Friday, October 1, 2021. The exercise would last for six months, ending on March 31, 2022.

The exercise, according to the ministry, aims at protecting the country’s cyberspace from fraudsters, ensuring effective monitoring, and tracking down persons engaged in cybercrime.

“We must reduce the incidence of mobile device related cyber crimes. All unregistered sims will be deactivated at the end of the registration exercise. We will enforce the law to the letter,” Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said at a cyber security event in the capital, Accra.

In just two weeks into the exercise, the Communications and Digitization Minister has expressed optimism at the ongoing SIM card re registration, saying, so far, it is satisfactory despite a few glitches.

“It is early days yet, and we are continuously monitoring the process but it is satisfactory. People are signing up for the first stage of the process of the project by linking their Ghana Card to the SIM cards and getting their unique IDs with which they will go to the service provider agent and have the process completed,” she said

Mrs. Owusu Ekuful emphasised that, individuals must go themselves to get their biometric data captured onto the system, cautioning that no one delegate that to anyone to do so on their behalf, as such people will be turned away.

Creation of an accurate national SIM database

Head of corporate affairs of the National Communication Authority (NCA), Nana Defie Badu, in an interview on local radio station Joy News, explaining the rationale of the exercise, said there were issues with the 2010 registration where people used family and friends’ IDs to register their cards which actually compromises the identity of the real owners.

Therefore, the re registration exercise with the Ghana Card will make the database credible enough.

She noted that it helps to develop a SIM database with integrity and trust, saying: “we also want to boost and build some security regarding services which are based on the use of communication services. It will give operators the chance to know the exact subscribers that they have and be able to develop services around those demographic groups. It will help us as the regulator to develop and regulate the industry even better.”

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