NCA gives orders for mass SIM deactivation

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Sim Re Registration Ghana
Sim Re-Registration Ghana

Following the recent reports of fraudulent SIM registration in the country, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has directed or telecoms operators and internet service providers to deactivate a wide category of SIM cards from their networks and ensure that same reflect in the central SIM register on Monday, April 17, 2023.

The NCA has also ordered the operators to report to the regulator by Tuesday, April 18, 2023 with evidence of having carried out the directive or face sanctions.

The directive is contained in a letter intercepted by Techfocus24, addressed to all operators, dated April 13, 2023 and signed by Acting Deputy Director-General (Technical Operations) at NCA, Professor Ezer Osei Yeboah-Boateng.

Per the directive, the operators are to do the following:

1. Delink all SIMs that have been disconnected in compliance with the 31st March, 2023 deadline from their SIM registration databases and same should reflect in the Central SIM Register by Monday, 17th April 2023. These should include SIMs that remain blocked in compliance with the Hon. Minister’s directive on 30th November 2022.

2. Indicate in writing to the NCA, by Tuesday, 18th April 2023, the total number of SIMs disconnected as per directive one above.

3. Delink, deactivate and remove all SIMs registered after the limit of ten (10) from their SIM Registration databases and same should reflect in the Central SIM Register by Monday, 17th April 2023.

The NCA then provided the operators with the list of SIMs registered after the list of
ten (10) to assist them target those SIMs.

The letter said “This directive supersedes our directive dated 11th April 2023” adding that
“Failure to comply with the directives above shall be in violation of Regulations 1 of the Subscriber Identity Module Registration Regulations, 2011.”

Regulation 1 of the SIM Registration require that every SIM must complete a registration process as directed by the NCA in accordance with the NCA Act 2008, Act 769.

Dire Implications

Techfocus24 gathered that following the directive, the operators have reached out to NCA to try and discuss the dire implications of the directive on businesses and individuals, but the NCA is bent on dealing with the ongoing fraudulent SIM registration drastically so it is not budging on the directive.

For instance, industry players say the directive will directly affect numbers associated with mobile money wallets and force those numbers to be churned from the various network, in direct contrast to the dormancy provisions in the Payment Systems & Services Act 2019, which requires a 2-year dormancy for inactive accounts to be churned.

Again, Techfocus24 is reliably informed that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) was not consulted on the potential impact of directive on mobile money. Indeed, the NCA and BoG are said to be very territorial and therefore do not really have a good working relationship where collaborative regulation of the industry is concerned.

Is this the cure to the fraud? 

Questions have been asked as to whether this mass SIM registration will solve the fraudulent SIM registration, which is enabled by the failing of the NCA itself.

The entire issue of people unaware that their Ghana Card had been used to register multiple SIMs is because the NCA SIM registration platform does not have a verification component. The data collected by the NCA is incompatible with the NIA’s database and therefore cannot be used for verification purposes – while the NCA is aware of this, they themselves do not have a verification platform and are playing politics with Ghanaians and the industry.

Find the NCA letter attached:

Nca Letter
Nca Letter

 

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