It is impossible for NIA to meet SIM re-registration deadline – Ken Attafuah

Sim Re Registration Ghana
Sim Re-Registration Ghana

Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), Prof. Kenneth Attafuah has said that it is technically and physically impossible for the NIA to register and issue Ghana Cards to all the remaining eligible persons before the SIM registration deadline. 

Speaking to journalists over the weekend, the NIA Boss noted that there are about two million people aged 15 and above left to be registered, saying that “there is no way NIA can register those people before September 30 – it is technically physically impossible.”

“We had said way back in March that it was impossible. I have said it is like expecting a maiden to make a baby every three months,” Prof. Attafuah reiterated. “That is not how the physical and logistical system has been designed to respond. We cannot do that.”

Communications and Digitalization Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has set September 30, 2022 as the deadline for SIM Registration and the only valid ID for the purpose is the Ghana Card, which is issued by the NIA, under the auspices of the Interior Ministry.

Meanwhile, ahead of the SIM registration deadline, the National Communications Authority (NCA), following the instructions of the Minister started applying sanctions to SIM cards that are either unregistered or not fully registered.

The sanctions however backfired because persons who have registered with NIA and were waiting for their Ghana Cards were also sanctioned, while even some persons who have completed their SIM registration also had their outgoing calls blocked as though they were not registered.

The NCA has since been sued by a pressure group called the Ghana Project, while another group of aggrieved persons led by the Vice President of IMANI Ghana, Selorm Branttie are also preparing to file a class action lawsuit over the same matter.

NCA has since pulled back the sanctions, with one of its directors reported to have erroneously blamed the illegal sanctions on telcos, even though the entire bio-data relating to registered SIM cards sit with the NCA and not telcos.

Questions have been asked of the NCA, as to why it is not liaising with the NIA to know how many Ghanaians have registered for Ghana Cards and are waiting to receive them before that can go do SIM Registration.

The NIA has never expected to register eligible persons in time for the deadline for the SIM card re-registration, and they have made that sufficiently clear, long before the Minister set her deadlines and NCA implemented the illegal sanction.

Prof Attafuah said the NCA is fully aware of the limitations at NIA when prescribing deadlines for the re-registration of SIM cards.

He, however, stated that it is not the place of NIA to advice the NCA on the matter because it falls outside their mandate.

“It is not for NIA to proffer advice on that as it falls outside its mandate,” said Prof Attafuah.

He however, stated that NIA had engaged actively with both the NCA and Minister of Communications and Digitalisation over the matter since last year.”

Meanwhile, September 30, 2022 still remains the deadline for SIM Registration until the Minister announces a new date. As it stands now, persons who fail to meet the deadline will have their SIM cards completely blocked on September 30.

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