The extended deadline for SIM card re-registration elapses today, Friday, September 30, 2022.
The Communications and Digitalization Ministry has already announced a series of punitive measures, some of which took effect from September 5, against persons who would not comply with the deadline.
Such persons risk deactivation of their SIM cards with a possibility of the numbers being re-assigned if the subscribers do not re-register the cards within six months after the deactivation.
Some subscribers who risk losing their numbers say the development is frustrating.
“I do everything with my SIM card. That is what I use for my savings because I do not have a bank account, so if they block my SIM, it means I cannot do anything and I will be worried”.
The government set the deadline for all persons to re-register their SIM cards with their Ghana Cards.
The regulations are to help law enforcement agencies to identify SIM card owners, track criminals who use phones for illegal activities, curb phone theft, hate text messaging, mobile fraud activities, and SIM Box fraud.
They are to also help identify subscribers for the use of value-added services such as mobile banking, mobile money, and electronic payment services.
However, not all Ghanaians have been able to secure their Ghana Card to enable them do the re-registration.
The move, some stakeholders have argued, is an infringement on the rights of Ghanaians.
Hundreds of customers massed up at the premises of the telecom companies to express worry over the punitive actions taken against them by the government.
“My Ghana card is not ready. That is what I am waiting for, so I am able to register. So why should I be blocked?”, said another frustrated customer.
But the National Identification Authority (NIA) has admitted the challenges to even register eligible persons in time for the deadline for the SIM card re-registration.
With about two million people aged 15 and above left to be registered, the NIA Executive Secretary, Prof. Kenneth Attafuah, said “there is no way that NIA can register those people. It is technically physically impossible.”
The window for the re-registration of SIM cards was extended on July 31, but a month after the extension, the number of persons who have visited the offices of the network service providers to have their SIMs registered dropped by 98 percent.
The Minority in Parliament had urged the President to intervene in the matter and one of its members, Sam George, said he was still concerned that the SIM Registration Regulations, 2011 (LI 2006) was being misinterpreted.
The National Communications Authority (NCA) was sued, with a group asking the Supreme Court to declare the deadline for registration and the associated punitive measures for non-registration null and void.
It argued that the punitive measures are unconstitutional.