On Sunday, September 5, the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful during a press briefing called for a nationwide SIM card re-registration by all Ghanaians commencing October 1, 2021. The re-registration exercise is expected to last 6 months thus ending on March 31, 2022.
How to re-register your SIM Card
According to Ursula Owusu, “only the National ID card, the Ghana card, issued to an individual shall be used for registration of Sim cards of citizens, foreign residents in Ghana, and foreigners staying in Ghana for more than 90 days.”
She also mentioned only Ghanaian citizens above the age of 15 years are eligible to partake in the exercise.
With respect to foreigners staying in Ghana for less than 90 days, they will be required to use their passports or travel documents to register for a SIM Card.
“Foreigners visiting Ghana can acquire a SIM card using the passport or travel card but they can only use the SIM card for 30 days after which it will be deactivated. Foreigners intending to use the SIM card for more than 30 days would have to obtain a non-citizen Ghana card to do so,” Ursula Owusu states.
Why the call for SIM re-registration
The national sim re-registration exercise forms part of the government’s digitization efforts to curtail the occurrence of cybercrime and fraud with the use of SIM cards.
In 2020, a similar call was made by the Communication Ministry with a June 2020 deadline.
“It is quite clear that the current SIM card registration regime is deficient and fraught with many challenges, defeating the purpose of the SIM registration regulations. Mindful of this, cabinet earlier this year directed the Minister for Communications to instruct all telecommunication companies to fully comply with the law governing sim card acquisition which requires the presentation of a valid ID document prior to registration,” Ursula Owusu said at the time.
“The ministry has consulted all relevant stakeholders and hereby announces that from 1st January 2020, we would all be required to re-register our SIM cards. Any SIM card which is not registered will be deactivated by June 2020, giving a six-month time frame for this exercise. We entreat all citizens, residents, and visitors to cooperate with us to ensure the success of this exercise for our collective security,” she added.
The exercise failed at the time due to what Ursula describes as “lack of a verifiable, secure identification document.”
Given the advent of the Ghana Card which is verifiable and secure, the Ministry is bent on ensuring the rules and protocols regarding the sim re-registration exercise are followed strictly.
Action to be taken for SIM registration failure
Ursula further stated that those who fail to re-register their SIM cards by March 31, 2022, will have their SIM cards deactivated.
She also cautioned that any individual who tries to register SIM Cards against the stipulated limit will find themselves liable.
“Let me caution here that people should not think that they can hide behind businesses and register as many SIM cards as they want. All SIM cards registered to a business will be linked to a shareholder or director and if a business SIM card is found to have been engaged in fraudulent activity, that shareholder will be held personally liable,” she stated.
According to Ursula, citizens can register a total of 10 SIM cards across all networks while foreigners will have a limit of three SIM cards across all networks.