Governance think-tank, Strategic Thinkers Network (STRANEK), has called on the Ministry of Communications to include the voters’ ID card and other forms of identification, a requirement for the ongoing SIM card re-registration exercise.
In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Nii Tettey Tetteh, and Deputy Director of Research, Eyram Norglo, STRANEK said the limitation of acceptable documents for the exercise to only the national ID card, also known as Ghana Card,” has mistreated section 7 of L.I. 2111 which makes the use of Ghana Card mandatory but not the only identity card for the purposes of registration.”
“STRANEK-Africa wishes the Ministry of Communication will take a second look at our ongoing SIM Card Registration exercise. There should be an alternative where different IDs can be used to register SIM Cards. Passports, the Driver’s licence currently are stronger IDs than the Ghana Card since the Ghana Card is largely filled with unverified Ghana Post GPS addresses,” said STRANEK.
According to the group, most of the Ghana Post GPS addresses are not linked to the physical addresses of registrants.
“If one of the reasons for SIM card re-registration is to fight fraudulent activities, then the fight is akin to a battle of Waterloo,” STRANEK warned, adding that the majority of Ghanaians do not have a fixed place of abode but rather, they are highly residentially mobile.
“For that matter, such data compiled by the National Identification Authority to fight SIM-based digital crime will fall flat. Passports, Driver’s Licence, Voter’s ID should be allowed as one of the requirements for SIM card registration,” the statement said.
The National SIM Card Re-registration Exercise commenced on October 1 after a directive by the Communications Ministry.
The Ministry of Communication is using the SIM Regulations, 2011, L.I. 2006 as the authority to mandate network operators or service providers to activate a SIM-only after the subscriber registers the SIM.
The think tank strongly argues for the authorities to also make it less inconvenient for Ghanaians to register their SIMs, advocating among other things, an extension of registration days to include weekends and even falling on the already existing database of the National Identification Authority (NIA).