George Andah

Former Deputy Communications Minister, George Andah, has backed the current processing place for the ongoing SIM registration exercise nationwide.

Per the directive of the National Communications Authority (NCA) and Communications Ministry, customers of telecommunication companies are to synchronize their network details with the National Identification database.

The process must be completed by visiting outlets of the respective operators which have resulted in winding queues.

This has generated conversation about the waste of productive hours and raised questions regarding the flexibility of the exercise.

Others have suggested a digital system to effect this action without having to cause crowds at registration points in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But George Andah disagrees.

According to him, though he appreciates the concerns, there is no other way to execute the activity without compromising its integrity, per his assessment so far.

“The physical collection of biodata records at the point of registration is to match what is in the central national database for verification/validation. This can be compared by the physical collection of your biodata (facial, iris, fingerprints, etc.) to digitally match and verify your passport details in the international registry when you travel.”

In a Facebook post on Monday, he said that “without the physical verification, there exists a high probability that individuals could provide the GhanaCard details of others to register and activate a SIM card, which could be used for fraudulent activities ……how does the Mobile Network Operator confirm/verify that you are the one who owns the GhanaCard?”

“This must be system validated and not just a facial inspection. A simple thing like having a WhatsApp number activated from an unregistered SIM is a big security risk globally,” he said.

He added that until the country’s ID systems become as robust as that of developed jurisdictions, the Communications Ministry and the NCA must be allowed to embark on the mission to improve the database and the country’s cybersecurity framework.

“As we modernize, our environment is exposed to threats in the cyber space and not forgetting that the SIM is a powerful ‘tool’ with the capacity to trigger and control several activities within the cyber environment even remotely, so securing a robust cyber ecosystem goes beyond the financial sector,” he explained.

“We must all be accommodating enough as efforts are underway to establish a credible SIM database that serves our common good as a people. We are fighting fraud, crime and impersonation.”

Below is George Andah’s post on Facebook