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Business News of Monday, 24 May 2021

Source: 3news.com

SIM cards re-registration move faces resistance

Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

Attempts by the Government of Ghana to have Ghanaians re-register their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards have been criticized by research and policy think-tank Strategic Thinkers Network Africa (STRANEK Africa).

Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia announced during the 5th CEO’s Summit in Accra that only the Ghana card will be used for the re-registration of all SIM numbers within a period of six months. This, the vice president explained will help in the formalisation of the economy and also curb the menace of mobile money fraud.

But Stranek Africa in a statement signed by Executive Director, Nii Tettey Tetteh, said the move is not justified.

“This is because the benefit for re-registration of SIMs will be very infinitesimal and rather, cause more challenges to users of mobile money services, mobile network operators including incoming travellers who require a sim card without a national ID, huge cost to the mobile network operators, toll on customers among others," parts of the statement read.

In the view of the policy think-tank, re-registration of SIM cards is not the major problem facing mobile money banking but rather the quality of services offered by service providers.

“Instead of re-registration of SIMs, STRANEK-Africa have realised that if government urges mobile network operators to do more sensitization to the public on electronic money fraud and campaign vigorously against such menace, good testimonies will emanate from adopting such approach.

“Also, mobile network operators are delivering poor services and it will be prudent for the ministry of communication and government to focus on ensuring network quality instead of re-registration”.

The group says it has always supported the Ghana Card project in the digitization drive of the economy but that it has to be implemented properly.

Find the full statement below:

RE-REGISTRATION OF SIM CARDS TO FIGHT ELECTRONIC MONEY FRAUD ERRONEOUS- STRANEK-AFRICA

Mobile money has come to stay since most of our transaction are done through that. It was introduced in the year 2009 but it took a while to gain traction. Almost every Ghanaian has a mobile money account because of its convenience. Even though it is boosting the economy and shortening the long stay in the banks, it has also manoeuvred its way to attract electoral money fraud.

The Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said the Minister for Communication and Digitization will announce re-registration of all Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards in use in Ghana as part of measures to help in the formalization of the Ghanaian economy with the aim of helping curb activities such as SIM box and Mobile Money Fraud. He mentioned this at the 5th CEO Summit in Accra. He added, Ghana Card will be used for the re-registration of all SIM numbers and a six-month grace period has been earmarked for this project. The question is, how realistic is this project considering the grace period in the era of the pandemic as well as capital expenditure and administrative costs?

STRANEK-Africa acknowledges how the Vice President of Ghana is doing so well to justify the existence of the Ghana Card but these comments from the Vice President of Ghana are erroneous so far as the fight against SIM box and Mobile Money Fraud is concerned. This is because the benefit for re-registration of SIMs will be very infinitesimal and rather, cause more challenges to users of mobile money services, mobile network operators including incoming travellers who require a sim card without a national ID, huge cost to the mobile network operators, toll on customers among others. Also, mobile money vendors are the hardest hit in terms of the electronic money fraud hence re-registration of SIM cards does not substantially alleviate them from the snares of the fraud.

STRANEK-Africa has for eons, fervently championed for Ghana Card to be done properly in order to achieve its purpose of better identification. It is trite knowledge the challenges Ghana Card registration has gone through to wit, approximately 55% of Ghana’s population have registered including some registrants providing false information which is not verified by the National Identification Authority. Moreover, there is no data to monitor changes of the residency of people who engage in electoral money fraud with the use of the Ghana Card.

Government can mimic what other jurisdictions in their struggle against such similar issues did to mitigate it. In the United States of America, modern monitoring systems were provided in addition to hiring more people to ensure issues in that gamut are curbed.

Mobile network operators should be urged to spend bigly on tools that can detect cyber fraud and check it as well as hiring personnel as part of investing in modern monitoring systems.

Instead of re-registration of SIMs, STRANEK-Africa have realised that if government urges mobile network operators to do more sensitization to the public on electronic money fraud and campaign vigorously against such menace, good testimonies will emanate from adopting such approach.

Also, mobile network operators are delivering poor services and it will be prudent for the ministry of communication and government to focus on ensuring network quality instead of re-registration.

Indeed, we should all get involved in building our motherland Ghana.

Signed.
Nii Tettey Tetteh
Executive Director
+233 559 042 914

Eyram Norglo
Deputy Director of Research
+233 266 119 773

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