Sim re-registration exercise, Here’s what to look out for
• The Communications Minister has spelled out a few modalities for the sim re-registration exercise
• The exercise is expected to come from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022
• The re-registration exercise is expected to curb the incidents of fraud
With the sim re-registration exercise set to take place from next month October 1, 2021, Communications and Digitilisation Minister has already spelled out a number of modalities for the exercise which will last for six months ending March 31, 2022.
The re-registration exercise according to government is expected to curb the incidents of fraud, monitor and track down persons who use their phones for criminal activities.
Despite an increase in mobile money fraud related activities, government is also hoping to use the exercise to enable authorities to ascertain the accurate number of valid and accurate SIMs on the networks, to enable telecommunications operators to build better demographics of their customer base.
It is also expected that the exercise will afford the National Communications Authority, which is the regulator, gain access to accurate data to regulate activities of the telecommunications sector
The sector minister for Communications and Digitilisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful during a press briefing on Sunday September 5, 2021 spelled out a number of modalities for the sim-registration exercise.
See the modalities below as first spelled out by Ursula Owusu-Ekuful:
Modalities for SIM Registration
1. All new subscribers will have to produce their Ghana card to acquire a new SIM card. For Businesses to register sims in bulk, the Operators will be required to verify the Business Registration documents with the Registrar General’s Department and verify the identity of the Shareholder or the Director for Limited Liability Companies and Public Institutions respectively.
2. Existing subscribers will register their SIMS via USSD and a sim registration App.
3. The verification of all subscribers and businesses will be against the databases of the National Identification Authority and the Registrar General’s Department where necessary. Indeed, for the Businesses, in addition to verifying from the Registrar General’s Department that that Business is valid, a shareholder or director of the organisation will have to personally be linked to the registration of the SIMs.
4. Individuals can register a total number of 10 SIM Cards across all networks and Foreigners will have a limit of 3 SIM Cards across all networks. Let me caution here, that people should not think that they can hide behind Businesses and register as many SIM Cards as they want. All SIM Cards registered to a Business will be linked to a Shareholder or Director of the Business and if a Business SIM Card is found to have been engaged in a fraudulent activity, the Shareholder or Director will be held liable.
5. The NCA will develop mechanisms to enable subscribers (individuals and Businesses) to check and verify all SIM Cards which have been registered in their names at all times.
6. Foreigners visiting Ghana can acquire a SIM Card using their Passports or Travel Card but they can only use the SIM Card for 30 days after which it will be deactivated. Foreigners intending to use a SIM Card for more than 30 days will have to obtain the Non-Citizen Ghana Card to do so.
The NCA has made it mandatory for the Operators to verify Passports and Travel Cards against an international database before registering and activating a SIM Card for Foreigners. Special arrangements will be made for diplomatic personnel living and working in Ghana.
7. One of the interesting things we are also doing is to enforce Regulation 6 of the SIM Regulations which states that:
1) “A network operator or service provider that provides international roaming service in the country to a subscriber from another country shall enter into an agreement with the network operator or service provider of that subscriber”.
2) “The agreement shall provide for the particulars of the subscriber in the records of the network operator or service provider during the period that the subscriber uses the Subscriber Identity Module in the country”.
We believe that enforcing this will address the potential issue of would-be fraudsters and criminals using SIM Cards from other countries to roam on Ghanaian networks to engage in crime.
8. The minimum age for registration has been set at 15 years, taking into consideration the increased use of communications services since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and to facilitate E-education.
9. For the very first time in Ghana, there will be a SIM Register just like countries like Brazil, Germany and Switzerland, which will serve as a database giving comprehensive statistics regarding a number of subscribers in Ghana and providing a resource for tracking fraudsters and criminals.
10. Barring any unforeseen eventualities, SIM Registration will begin on 1st October, 2021 for a six (6) month period and end on 31st March, 2022. Any sim which is not registered at the end of this exercise will be blocked.
11. The NIA is opening Regional and District Offices to enable Ghanaians who have not registered for their Ghana Card to be able to do so and we encourage all Ghanaians and Foreigners resident in Ghana to ensure that they have their Ghana Cards and Non-Citizen Ghana Card ready. In addition, those who have registered but have not picked up their Ghana Cards should be able to do so from the various NIA offices