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The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications has welcomed the decision by the Communications Ministry to extend the deadline for the SIM card registration exercise to July 31, 2022.

In an interview with JoyNews, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber, Ken Ashigbey, said the extension will help many Ghanaians apply for the Ghana Card, which is the basic means of identification for the exercise.

He said once more people get the cards, the exercise will be fast tracked.

“There is constant feedback from the operators to the technical committee that is made up of the NCA as well. This feedback then goes back to the Ministry of Communications. If you look at the data that we’ve collected, the average number of registration that we were doing daily has increased,” he added.

The SIM card re-registration exercise, which was originally scheduled to end on March 31, was extended due to the challenges that have characterised the process since it began last year.

There have been agitations by a section of the public over their inability to register due to the long queues and defective registration machines.

A statement issued by the Communications Ministry explained that there is the need for citizens to be given more room to comply with the directive and get their SIM cards registered.

“As of 17th March, 14,091,542 SIM cards have been linked to the Ghana Card, 10,348,532 Bio-Captures conducted and 99,445 new SIMs registered.

“Due to a number of factors including the fact that over 7.5 million citizens and residents are yet to obtain Ghana Cards to enable them register their SIM cards, it is clear that the deadline for completion of the registration of the remaining active SIM cards cannot be met.”

Telecoms Chamber welcomes decision to extend deadline of SIM card re-registration exercise
Communications Ministry’s statement announcing the extension of the SIM card re-registration exercise

“More time will also be required to update the SIM Registration App for the registration of diplomats, while a Self-Service SIM Registration App is also being developed to facilitate registration of SIM cards for Ghanaians resident abroad. This will be operational by mid-April,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Ranking Member on the Communications Committee, Sam George, says the government must expand the means of identification to allow many people to register for the Ghana Card.

According to him, the only applicable legislation which permits citizens to use other cards for registering their SIM has been ignored, adding that he will champion a cause for other cards to be used for the re-registration exercise.

“The point here is, there’s only one legislation here in Ghana for registration of SIM cards; that is LI 2006. LI 2006 in Section 10, stipulates the cards that you can use to register a SIM card in Ghana. Those cards include the national passport, those cards include your Voter’s ID card. It’s stated in black and white in a law passed by Parliament. That law has not been changed, and that’s the only law for registration of SIM cards in Ghana.

“The Ministry is doing a SIM card re-registration, and saying that the law backing that registration is LI 2111. LI 2111 is the law for the National Identification Authority in enabling it to be able to generate a Ghana card,” he stated.