Ghana has 29 million registered SIM cards – Minister

Sim Cards
Sim Cards

Minister of Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has informed Parliament that almost 29 million SIM cards have been successfully registered since the commencement of registration exercise using the Ghana Card.

She disclosed this on the floor of Parliament when she appeared before the House to give an update on the ongoing SIM card registration.

“Mr Speaker, so far, 28,948,142 SIMs have been fully registered while 999,419 have been exempted and so the total active SIMs are 29,947,561,” the Minister said

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful explained that the exempted SIMs are those belonging to Ghanaians on Peacekeeping Missions, the Staff of the Foreign Ministry on diplomatic missions outside the country and members of the diplomatic community in Ghana.

“I have also heard some people complain that although they had registered their SIMs, those SIMs were blocked. Several of these people have been people who did not complete the second phase of the process as required.

“Such people should contact their Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to have the issues resolved and the owners of the SIMs would get their numbers back after duly registering,” she said.

The Minister however urged such persons to act timeously because the National Communications Authority (NCA) would shortly announce when these moratoria would end, after which all unregistered SIMs would be permanently deactivated.

“If your (Mobile) line has been blocked and you still need it, please go and register,” she said.

She also urged those whose SIMs might have been blocked inadvertently, despite having been duly registered, to notify the NCA, so that a full investigation could be conducted into it to determine if it was really the case and why it happened.

The Minister urged the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to ensure that their systems work, and that no one who had fully registered their SIMs should have it blocked.

She said what had been achieved so far was that every registered SIM was linked to a Ghana Card, which had the ownship of the Ghana Card verified from the National Identification Authority (NIA).

She said SIM registration would facilitate implementation of various government initiations such as mobile money services, digital financial services, and other electronic transactions.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) were liaising with the Bank of Ghana to ensure that persons who had their monies locked up on mobile money accounts were retrieved.

Following the deactivation of unregistered SIM cards, some subscribers have been complaining about their inability to access their funds on mobile money accounts that had been deactivated.

Touching on the deactivation of the Speaker’s SIM card and other Members of Parliament (MPs), Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the Ministry would be engaging the Office of the Clerk to Parliament to complete the registration process for the reactivation of their SIM cards.

The Minister said the Government was giving a one-month ultimatum to subscribers of merchant SIMs to register them or have them deactivated by the end of June 2023.

She noted that almost 280,000 merchant SIMs were not registered, offering fraudsters an opportunity to use them in perpetuating their activities.

Mr Samuel Nartey George, Deputy Ranking Member of Parliament’s Select Committee on Communications, urged the Minister to take the right steps to ensure a clean SIM card registered without disenfranchising Ghanaians.

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