The Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has announced that the deadline for the SIM re-registration exercise has been extended to September 30, 2022.
At a meet-the-press session on Sunday, the Minister stated “The program (SIM registration) will be extended to 30th September to end on the anniversary of its commencement. That will give us one full year of SIM registration.”
According to her, the exercise will however be reviewed at the end of August and any SIM that has not been fully registered by then will be barred from receiving certain services including voice and data services.
“It will also be more expensive to use unregistered SIM, the full range of punitive measures will be announced at another press briefing in September, kindly do not blame your service provider when you suffer that fate due to your own inaction,” the Minister further stated.
The other twist added to the process is a complete self service app, for which users will pay GHS5 per SIM they will be able to capture both their Ghana Card details and biodata remote in their comfort of their homes and offices.
The self-service app will be launched on Tuesday August 2, 2022 on both Android and iOS.
The exercise was supposed to have ended today, July 31, 2022, and the minister had earlier said there was not going to be an extension. But several challenges that has bedeviled the process meant sticking to the deadline was not going to serve anyone’s interest.
For one, the number of active SIM cards yet to be registered are way more than those registered, largely because the owners of those SIM cards do not yet have their Ghana Cards, which is the only ID card fit for purpose.
Millions of Ghanaians are either yet to register for Ghana Card or have registered but are yet to receive their Ghana Cards.
The other reason for an extension is that the broadband wireless access (BWA) players like Surfline, Busy Ghana, Telesol and Broadband Home only began their SIM registrations some few days back.
Tech Analyst Maximus Amertorgoh has said that there is no need for government to set deadlines for SIM registration because it is a lifelong process so long as people will keep buying and owning new SIM cards.
Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil has also said that until the queues at the Ghana Card registration centers stop, no deadline of SIM registration will be feasible, because people are still queueing for their cards before they can go and go SIM registration.
Meanwhile, some industry watchers also think the ghs5 fee for self service is nothing more than a scheme to line a few private pockets because the proper thing to do is to allow Ghanaians to have access to their Ghana Card and then register their SIM cards, instead of using a needless deadline to then drive people to use a commercial self service app.