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SIM Card Disconnection: The 'Good News' Most Ghanaians Have Long Been Waiting To Hear

In October 1, 2021, Ghana’s Ministry of Communications and Digitization (MoCD) began a mandatory nationwide Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card re-registration exercise.

The mandatory exercise, was to ensure that, every SIM card subscriber in Ghana, re-register their SIM cards, using only the Ghana National Identification card (Ghana Card).

According to the government, every SIM card user must provide his or her name and residential, or occupational address, date of birth, in the case of an individual; and Certificate of Incorporation, in the case of a body corporate; or registration, in the case of a partnership or an unincorporated body of persons; and an identification document during the re-registration exercise.

The six (6) month Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) re-registration, which was scheduled to ends on 31st March, 2022, was postponed to July 31 2022; and later to September 30 2022 (the final deadline); due to the inability of majority of Ghanaians to register their SIM cards.

Though the SIM card re-registration; using the Ghana card was accepted by a portion of the population, it was rejected by many; because of the difficulties involved in the acquisition the Ghana card.

Currently, according to the National Identification Authority (NIA), over 16,969,034 (16.96 million) Ghanaians (out of 31.07 million population, have received their Ghana cards.

Again; some latest figures coming from the National Communication Authority (NCA), shows that, slightly over 26 million active SIM cards in the country (representing 62% of all SIM cards in Ghana) are yet to be linked to the Ghana Cards.

In their latest announcement, the National Communication Authority (NCA), has announced a punitive actions against all unregistered SIM cards in the country.

This action; which was aimed at forcing all persons to re-register their SIM cards, will be followed by a blocking of all unregistered SIM cards for 2 days, in each week; starting from Monday, September 5, 2022.

The point is, the Ministry of Communications and Digitization (MoCD), is failing to understand, that the main challenge facing many Ghanaians SIM users; in regard to their SIM card re-registration, is the struggles and the difficulties involved in getting Ghana cards these days.

Many notable Ghanaians who have shared their views on the SIM re-registration exercise, have cautioned the government, against deactivating people's SIMs; and rather focuse on improving on the process of acquiring Ghana card...since the majority of SIM card users are still finding it very difficult to get their Ghana cards.

The latst to add his voice to the new SIM card announcements; and condemning the government's plan to block all unregistered SIM Cards, is the former chief manager at the National Communication Authority (NCA), Mr. Abed-Nego Azumah Bandim.

Mr. Bandim in his comments has said, that “The National Communications Authority (NCA) must immediately withdraw its recently announced draconian punitive measures on SIM card re-registrations, and cease being a rubber stamp regulator in the communications industry”.

He added that, “It is out of place for the NCA to feed on that statement from the Telecom Chamber, and start issuing punitive measures to consumers, without regard to the real challenge... which is the difficulty in acquiring Ghana cards. This is capricious".

Mr. Bandim, who is also the current Member of Parliament for Bunkpurugu Constituency again stated that, the punitive measures by the government are unreasonable, given the several challenges that have characterized the Ghana card and SIM card re-registration processes.

He further revealed that, as a former manager at the National Communications Authority (NCA), he know; that the NCA is "staffed by professionals who would only act in ways that promote the larger interest of Ghanaians. This is not the NCA that we know. The standards have fallen”, and that, If the NCA really wants to achieve their aim of becoming a world-class regulator, "...then it must first wean itself off political control and the egos of the sector minister, and effectively regulate the communication industry using evidence-based research".

Honorable Abed-Nego Azumah Bandim's called on the National Communication Authority (NCA), to withdraw it's punitive measures against persons yet to re-register their SIM cards, is a call in the right time and on the right direction.

These are the exact good news many SIM card users would be very glad to hear from the government, considering the challenges involved in getting Ghana Cards for the SIM re-registration.

Again in my view; and with some engagements with some few families and friends so far; i can say, that it is currently the wish of many Ghanaians; especially those without the Ghana Cards, to hear the Government's order in the near future, to stop the ongoing SIM re-registration exercise; or the de-activation of unregistered SIM cards.

My personal visit to some Ghana Card registration centers, revealed great crowd and very long queues.

The mad-rush by Ghanaians to the NIA offices; and the long queues are aimed at just two reasons; first to get Ghana card, and second, to beat the deadlines set for the SIM registration, in order to avoid de-activation.

I observed also that, the queues keep increasing rather that decreasing; with applicants having to stand in the scorching sun for hours to wait for their turn to get the Ghana card.

These are the challenges the Nana Addo Bawumia government must aim at solving, and not targeting to close people's SIM cards.

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Ghana Ghana Card Ghana National Identification Ministry of Communications and Digitization MoCD


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