Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful says persons who do not legitimately have the Ghana Card but have had their SIM cards deactivated must reach out to the National Communication Authority (NCA) for a resolution. According to her, the affected users would have to provide evidence to that effect.
“In recognition of the fact that not everyone has a Ghana Card, individuals who have not registered their SIMs have been asked to submit evidence of having applied for their Ghana Card to the NCA, and they will be exempted from the exercise,” she assured.
The Ablekuma West MP noted that also exempted from the re-registration exercise are subscribers out of the country, although they are required to register their SIM cards with their passports.
Again, once subscribers out of the country activate roaming on their devices, the mobile network operators (MNOs) can identify that they are outside the country.
“The NCA has also directed that SIM cards detected to be outside the country for a period of 6 months to be temporarily exempted until the subscribers can complete their registration,” she added.
According to her, subscribers outside who encounter challenges in registering their SIM cards are expected to contact NCA for assistance via email. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful’s comments come in the wake of over 9 million SIM cards being deactivated for the failure of the users to re-register their sim cards.
In a statement made to parliament, the Minister explained that the government had to act tough to show the seriousness it attached to the SIM registration exercise. According to her, even if the deadline for SIM re-registration was extended, there would still be people who would have defaulted.
She explained that the NCA has been monitoring the situation at MNO customer care centers and has observed that people with Ghana Cards have refused to register their SIM cards. But Ningo Prampram MP, Sam George who has been extremely critical of the process accused the Minister of breaching laws in blocking SIM cards.
“Mr Speaker, again I put on record in this House that the NCA and the MNOs have not gone to the NIA to verify and authenticate the portable readers they claim they are using that have not been published in any gazette. “And so you are acting in violation of section 9 of LI (211) since December 2022,” he said.
Meanwhile, former Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu says some of the challenges that have plagued the exercise could have been avoided if the NCA and its Minister did not have a poor relationship with the NIA – the state institution issuing the sole identity document to register which is the Ghana Card.