(Ecofin Agency) - The Ghanaian government launched the telecom subscriber identification campaign in October 2021. More than a year later, millions of people are yet to register their SIM cards despite the deadline being extended several times.
Ghana's National Communications Authority (NCA) plans to deactivate some 11.1 million active SIM cards on May 31, if they are not registered before then. The move was announced by Joe Anokye (photo), director general of the NCA, at a press briefing in Accra last Wednesday.
According to Mr. Anokye, the SIM cards affected are those that have not yet started the registration process. The SIM cards of Ghanaians on national duties abroad, foreign diplomats in the country, and refugees are exempted. Citizens who have not yet received their biometric cards can also continue to use their SIM cards after the deadline.
The Ghanaian telecom subscriber identification campaign began on October 1, 2021. It was scheduled to end on March 31, 2022. However, the deadline was extended to July 31 because the vast majority of SIM cards were yet to be registered and a large portion of the population had not yet obtained a biometric identity card. The government had to extend the deadline again to September 30 and then to November 30.
According to official figures, by April 25, 25 million of the 36.57 million active SIM cards were already fully registered. They were linked to 13 million unique national biometric cards. As of March 10, some 6.4 million SIM cards that did not complete both stages of the process were deactivated.
Akonye believes the SIM card registration will help build trust in Ghana's digital ecosystem. "As we continuously increase the use of digital technologies in all aspects of our daily lives, the critical role of the SIM registration exercise cannot be overlooked. As a matter of fact, Ghana's Digital Transformation Agenda is anchored in part on a credible SIM register and a competitive telecommunications industry," he added.
Isaac K. Kassouwi