Here’s why Ghanaians have been directed to re-register their SIM beginning January 2020 or lose phone number

The Ministry of Communications has announced that all mobile phone users in Ghana will have to re-register their SIM numbers (Subscriber Identity Module) or lose the numbers as they will be deactivated.

Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

The directive is expected to begin from January 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020.

The measure, the ministry said will help monitor and track down persons who use their phones for criminal activities.

The Minister for Communication, Ursula Ekuful announced the decision at a press briefing on Monday, October 14, 2019.

Subscriber Identity Module

According to her, Ghana enacted the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Regulations, 2011 (L.I. 2006) primarily to reduce mobile phone related crimes such as prank calls, cyber-crime, mobile money fraud and its related issues and general security.

The enactment, she said, is intended to help law enforcement agencies to identify the SIM card owners, track criminals who use phones for illegal activities, curb incidents such as phone theft, hate text messages, mobile fraud activities, inciting violence, and to combat crime such as SIM Box fraud.

“SIM registration also enables subscribers to be properly identified for the use of value-added services such as mobile banking, mobile money, and electronic payment services. Due to the crucial nature of SIM registration and its security implications for the country, MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) were required to ensure SIMs were registered properly before activation on the mobile network to avoid inconsistencies and fake subscriber identity," the Minister said.

Adding that “Even though the SIM Registration regulations are still in force, it is not being enforced due to the lack of an acceptable, fake proof, Identification card and non-existence of verification by a national database to ensure the traceability of the individual who registered the SIM card.

Requirements

The ministry noted that the valid ID cards will include Driver's Licence, SSNIT, Passports, and the Ghana Card.

“Identification forms acceptable for re-registration or fresh SIMs will be by approved national biometric identity cards,” Mrs Ekuful noted.

She further added that “a detailed programme will be rolled out by the National Communications Authority, and will be conducted with the telecommunication companies.”

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