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Ghanaians encouraged to complete biometric capture for SIM registration as deadline nears

Ghanaians encouraged to complete biometric capture for SIM registration as deadline nears

Some telecommunication service providers in Ghana have begun a partial block of SIM cards which have not been fully registered by the owners, following a government directive.

Citizens have been told to complete the registration process with the capture of their biometrics before the latest government deadline of 30 November elapses. The last ‘final’ deadline had been 31 October.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Communication and Digitalization directed that telcos deactivate data services from 20 November for all SIM card owners who have gone through only the first stage of the registration process, which is linking the SIM to a Ghana Card, the national biometric ID card.

Now, the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications says some of its members such as Airtel, MTN and Vodafone have already begun complying with the ministry’s order, reports Business Ghana.

In a statement, the Chamber called on Ghanaians who possess a Ghana Card to complete stage two of the registration process by showing up at telco service centres to submit their biometric information.

“Subscribers with Ghana Cards can avoid this inconvenience by completing the registration process, i.e., stage 2 (biometric capture). The Chamber is encouraging all subscribers who have acquired Ghana Cards but are yet to complete stage 2 to do so before November 30, 2022,” read a portion of the statement quoted by Business Ghana.

The Chamber says its members are compelled to completely deactivate all SIM cards which are not biometrically registered by Wednesday 30 November. It has also advised members of the public who need help in the registration process to approach the National Communication Authority (NCA) or their respective mobile network providers, according to reporting by News Ghana.

Given the difficulties faced by Ghanaians which include the lack of the Ghana Card by many, the Chamber hopes the government, through the Ministry of Communication and Digitalization, and the NCA, can take special measures in favour of those who do not actually possess the ID, as consultations are said to be ongoing in this regard.

The continuing SIM re-registration exercise in Ghana has been as controversial as it has been heavily criticized.

A few days ago, the Accra High Court dismissed a case filed by individuals questioning the legality of the exercise.

The petitioners had also prayed the court to quash the decision of the Minister of Communication and Digitalization which makes the Ghana Card the sole ID document required for SIM re-registration, writes Modern Ghana.

The court ruled, among other things, that the NCA has the mandate to conduct the exercise and so it is doing within the limits of its powers. The ruling adds that limiting the SIM registration document to the Ghana Card is in line with provisions of the National Identity Register Regulations 2021.

Ghana’s Communication and Digitalization Minister Ursula Owusu, emphasizing the importance of the registration recently, claimed SIM card-enabled fraud in the country had dropped noticeably since the process started in October last year. As of earlier this month, the first registration step had been completed for nearly 30 million SIMs, but a third of those had not concluded the process.

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