The Communications Ministry has ordered that all mobile telephone users would have to re-register their SIM cards by June 2020 or lose the ability to use voice or data on their phones after the deadline.
The directive is aimed at fighting mobile phone fraudulent activities in the country-particularly the rampaging Mobile Money fraud that has claimed victims of several users.
The sector minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful who made this known during the ministry’s turn at the regular Meet-the-press session today, said the re-registration window will be open from January 2020 to June 2020.
“It is quite clear that the current SIM card registration regime is deficient and fraught with many challenges, defeating the purpose of the SIM registration regulations. Mindful of this, cabinet earlier this year directed the Minister for Communications to instruct all telecommunication companies to fully comply with the law governing sim card acquisition which requires the presentation of a valid ID document prior to registration,” the minister said on Monday.
“The ministry has consulted all relevant stakeholders and hereby announces that from 1st January 2020, we would all be required to re-register our SIM cards. Any SIM card which is not registered will be deactivated by June 2020, giving a six-month time frame for this exercise. We entreat all citizens, residents and visitors to cooperate with us to ensure the success of this exercise for our collective security,” she explained.
Despite the positives of this directive, the controversial Communications Service Tax (CST) that is milking consumers nationwide threatens to erase the benefits of the SIM Card re-registration exercise.
Earlier this year, the Ministry in a statement instructed all stakeholders including telecommunication companies to ensure strict compliance with the SIM registration and activation processes in line with the relevant statutory provisions.
Mobile users were also urged to confirm the status and details of their registration by dialing *400# on their mobile handsets and following up with their respective mobile networks to correct errors in the registration detail.
However, the Ministry believes that in spite of the previous measure, fraudsters have continued their activities unperturbed. The re-registration is therefore expected to significantly cut down on their activities. Of the 29 million Ghanaians, there are over 34 million SIM cards in circulation, raising questions about what the excess SIM cards (about 5 million SIM cards) are being used for.