Business General

“Punishing SIM re-registration defaulters a recipe for digital exclusion”

Vice President of IMANI-Africa, Selorm Branttie, says the punitive measures being rolled out by the National Communications Authority (NCA) against users of unregistered SIM cards are problematic.

He emphasizes that the sanctions do not take into consideration the difficulties of subscribers in rural areas.

The NCA’s directive to the telecommunications companies to penalise persons yet to register their SIM cards is a move some stakeholders have argued is an infringement on the rights of Ghanaians.

Some persons are unable to make phone calls, while others lamented about their inability to access electronic cash in their accounts.

But commenting on the development on The Big Issue, Mr. Branttie explained that the NCA should have factored in the challenges of those unable to access the Ghana card to register.

“The issue of the Ghana card is already a problem all the way from registration to collection. Can we say that, in light of all these logistical challenges and inefficiencies already existing in the NIA system, it is right for the Minister of Communications to blame such people for not being able to re-register their SIM cards? Because of these inefficiencies, people are being asked to pay dearly for it”.

He added that, the current turn of events is an affront to digital inclusion.

“What we are doing is actually against the Sustainable Development Goals which we have spent a lot of donor money to ensure digital inclusion in the country, which is supposed to protect the poor and vulnerable in society and lift them up from a point of poverty to where they can also be economically competitive in this age of ICT.”

“It means that we are also blocking the chance of children and other people who will require digital services either through mobile money, voice calls, data and SMS – we are barring all of them from getting the benefits of these services.”

SIM card owners in Ghana who have not re-registered their cards started facing punitive actions on Monday, September 5, 2022, ahead of the September 30 deadline.

But some mobile network subscribers in Kumasi who have successfully re-registered their SIM cards are alleging that sanctions announced by the National Communications Authority (NCA) for unregistered SIM card owners are being applied to them.

Many of such affected persons massed up at various offices of their Mobile Network Operators to demand answers.

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