A Policy analyst says brewing friction between the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the National Identification Authority (NIA) is to blame for the difficulties citizens are having with the SIM card re-registration process.
Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby described as tragic the seeming conflict between the two-state regulators.
According to him, if the Authorities should liaise with each other, the SIM card re-registration exercise would be easier for the populace.
“If the NCA was in sync with the NIA, there could be an arrangement where the NIA could furnish the NCA with the periodic update of those who have registered and have been issued their Ghana Card,” he said on Monday.
“And the NCA, having obtained that list, can actually say to the newly registered that they’ve got six weeks to make sure to link their SIM card to the Ghana Card.”
He was speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show.
Citing arrangements between the financial institutions and NIA, Dr Wereko-Brobby said the banks have cooperated with the Authority to make the Ghana Card a basic requirement for all transactions.
This, he noted, could be emulated by the NCA in the ongoing SIM card re-registration exercise.
“NCA is simply not talking to the NIA, and has contracted third-party to do things we have the NIA saying ‘I cannot vouch for the data and biometric that is being generated by somebody else.’
“Now, this is a turf war, and this is the real meaning of when two elephants fight; we the ‘grasses’ suffer,” he noted.
Many people have been struggling to re-register their cards as required by the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation.
The Exercise was scheduled to end on Sunday, July 31, 2022.
About 7.9m Ghanaians were expected to lose SIM cards on August 1, after the deadline elapsed.
Meanwhile, the SIM card re-registration exercise has been extended to September 30, 2022.
Speaking at a press briefing on Sunday, the Communications and Digitalisation Minister, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said the extension followed consultations with industry stakeholders.
“Upon consultation with the industry and in view of the challenges enumerated above, I have very reluctantly decided to grant a conditional extension. The programme will be extended to 30th September to end on the anniversary of its commencement.”
“That will give us one full year of SIM registration. It will be reviewed at the end of this month and any SIM that has not been fully registered by the end of August will be barred from receiving certain services including voice and data services,” she said.
However, Dr Wereko-Brobby is against the Ministry adding a deadline to the exercise.
According to him, since the primary product needed for the re-registration process – Ghana Card – does not have a deadline, it will be inconsiderate to have deadlines for the exercise.
“The logic of the situation that we are faced with is that, an organization which is not bound by deadlines cannot be forced to produce data or have its product subjected to deadlines by other people,” he stressed.