The Communications Ministry has moved to cure what it says are deficiencies with the existing SIM card registration regime in Ghana.
The Ministry has urged players within the SIM registration value chain to ensure strict compliance with the SIM registration and activation processes in line with the relevant statutory provisions.
In a release issued on April 2, 2019, Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said deficiencies identified with the process include:
-The sale of pre-registered SIM cards;
The use of pre-registered SIM cards and
-Fraudulent registration of SIM cards and the use of same.
These deficiencies, the Minister said, facilitate criminal activities such as Mobile Money fraud, Illegal SIM swap, Illegal Termination of international traffic(SIM-Boxing) leading to loss of revenue to the state, Impersonation and, Cyber-crime.
“Government is committed to formalising our economy utilising technology as part of the Digital Ghana Agenda (DGA) and ensuring the integrity of an integrated national database and systems. This will build security, trust and confidence in the use of digital services, and help establish a fully functioning digital economy.
“While we partner the relevant institutions for the complete rollout of the National Identification cards for SIM registration, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has been directed to ensure strict compliance with the law and engage Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and all relevant stakeholders to address these deficiencies,” the Minister said in the release.
The Minister urged subscribers and Mobile Network Operators to ensure compliance with relevant statutory provisions such as:
-The Subscriber Identity Module Registration Regulation, 2011 (L.I. 2006), which governs the responsibilities related to SIM registration and mandates the non-activation or de-activation of unregistered SIMs
-Section 73 (a) of the Electronic Communications Amendment Act. 2016 (Act 910) which prohibits the use of SIM cards to terminate international calls as local calls, empowers the NCA to issue directives to MNOs to prevent, detect or disconnect SIMs used for that purpose and makes this illegal termination of calls subject to a term of imprisonment and/or a fine.
Section 73 (b) of the Electronic Communications Amendment Act. 2016 (Act 910) also criminalises the use of pre-registered SIMs for any purpose and makes it an offence punishable by a fine of not more than three thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or to both.
“For the purposes of this section, a “pre-registered subscriber identify module or user identity module ‘means a module that has been registered with the data cf a person other than the person who finally acquires the module for use on a network except as permitted by law,’” the release stated.
The Ministry has assured the general public that it is committed to building a strong, secure and resilient communications industry for the benefit of all citizens.
In that regard, the Ministry says it will ensure the full implementation of all laws on the acquisition and registration of SIM cards.
“We are therefore encouraging all subscribers to verify the current status of their SIM registration by dialling *400# Toll free on any network. Subscribers may also call their Service Providers on 100 Toll Free if they have any issues with the service.”