I have read the author’s opinion, and I acknowledge his suggestion that NIA should share their data with the Telcos because every data the Telcos are collecting are with NIA. That is the best way out of the current long queues we see at the various offices of the Telcos.
But I’m afraid I have to disagree with his suggestion for the best way out of the current mess.
He writes, “In my opinion, the re-registration process could be done in a simpler process that will not require any face-to-face interaction. This involves five stages of less effort, no mass human gathering between the client and the service providers.
These processes are;
STAGE 1: Dial the USSD (*400#) to request an interface to key in your details.
STAGE 2: Submit the details to the TELCOS
STAGE 3: A One Time Password (OTP) is sent to the client from TELCOS
STAGE 4: A confirmation link sent to the client to verify the details sent which will request for the OTP
STAGE 5: The TELCOS pull the details from the NIA database which will end the process.
This approach puts little or no stress on the client. In this digital era, the crowding of people to undertake processes that require technologies defeats the digitalisation of the economy proposed by the government.”
This is where I disagree with him. This process won’t establish and confirm the identity of an applicant. This means there is the possibility of people using someone’s card to do the registration by dialling the shortcode.
The author was not clear on which number the Telcos should send the OTP to. Is it the one captured by NIA or used for the registration? I think he needs to be clear on that, but either way, is not recommended.
Back to his suggestion, In establishing one’s identity, there is the need for one to be biometrically verified or authenticated (i.e. 1:1 matching, not 1:N matching).
With the 1:1 matching, the applicants live fingerprint is taken and verified or authenticated against the Ghana card, which has a copy of their fingerprint stored in the card. If the applicant’s live fingerprint matches with what is on the card, then it means an IDENTITY has been established. This process can only be done with the applicant physical presence.
If this is not done, then we are likely to end up having fraudulent people after the SIM card registration.
The best way out is for the government to halt the registration and invite all the stakeholders (MOC, NCA, MTN, NIA, Vodafone, AirtelTigo) into a meeting and direct NIA to share their data with the Telcos with MOC and NCA playing a supervisory role.
After that, the government can issue a directive that all those who did not provide their phone numbers or gave wrong or someone’s phone number during the NIA registration should go and any NIA to update their records.
This directive alone will prevent over 16 million people from queuing to register their SIMS because NIA already has that data.
Yayra Koku Deku is a Systems Analyst / Cybersecurity Consultant
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