A policy analyst, Mr. Selorm Branttie has asserted that blocking unregistered SIM cards after September 30, 2022, will amount to toying with the government’s digitalization agenda.
According to him, it will also thwart the government’s effort at achieving the relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“You are talking about flirting and toying, making a petri-dish of the whole digitization agenda which is being run by the Vice President himself, and by so many different organizations, you are talking about flirting with our SDGs. You are talking about blocking digital access, you are talking about creating digital apartheid where people are being made to pay for another organization not fulfilling their obligation,” he stated on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on September 13, 2022.
In 2021, the Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation, through the National Communications Authority (NCA) requested all mobile telephony subscribers to re-register their SIM cards. This directive came with a deadline. The only identification card required for the exercise is the Ghana Card. However, many subscribers do not have the card. This has resulted in many of them being unable to register their SIMs. Many stakeholders, therefore, called for an extension of the deadline.
It would be recalled that speaking at a press briefing on Sunday, July 31, the Communications and Digitalisation Minister, extended the deadline for SIM card re-registration from July 31, to September 30, 2022 “reluctantly”.
“Upon consultation with the industry and in view of the challenges enumerated above, I have very reluctantly decided to grant a conditional extension. The program will be extended to 30th September to end on the anniversary of its commencement,” she announced.
This was followed by the blockage of SIM cards that had not been re-registered as of September 5 by the National Communication Authority (NCA).
In relation to this, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful on September 7, wrote in a Facebook post, “At a subsequent press conference in September, the full scope of the sanctions will be revealed. If you suffer that fate as a result of your own inaction, kindly do not blame your service provider. To be forewarned is to be forearmed”.
Additionally, any SIM that has not yet been completely registered will be unable to use voice and Internet services. Afterward, using unregistered SIMs will be more expensive”.
However, Mr. Branttie’s concern is that going by the fact that many subscribers still do not have the Ghana Card it will imprudent to enforce the September 30 deadline.
He opined that the consequences will be chaotic if the Minister sticks to her guns. He, therefore, dared Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful to block unregistered SIM cards as she has threatened.
“And I double dare the Minister to go by her own words and see the kind of chaos that will happen in this country. I am saying chaos because you are talking about flirting with the fortunes of the service sector which contributes more than 45% of our GDP,” the policy analyst stated.