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Opinions of Friday, 21 May 2021

Columnist: Joel Savage

Why the NPP government must go on with the registration of sim-cards

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu

Why does the wind of modern technology blowing across the world impact Africa's developments, yet when someone suggests something significant that could benefit a country, there is always an opposition to discourage it?

According to a publication by ModernGhana news which appeared on May 19, 2021, at the 5th Ghana CEO Summit in Accra, the Vice-President, Mahamudu Bawumia, had said as from the effect of June 2021, all mobile phone users in the country are expected to register their sim cards or risk having their phone numbers deactivated.

Knowing perfectly well that that is a very positive step taken by the NPP government since, in many developed countries, mobile phones of everyone are duly registered to reduce crime; I wasn’t expecting the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, to oppose that decision at all.

According to Haruna Iddrisu, "undertaking a SIM re-registration exercise will not solve the issue of Mobile Money fraud as expected by Dr. Bawumia."

That’s not true Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, actually, there is rampant mobile money fraud in Ghana because many of the criminals haven't registered their numbers, and therefore, they are unknown. Unregistered mobile users can easily commit a crime, and then get rid of the number for a new one.

I will explain, contrary to what the Minority Leader said, developed countries, including Belgium, have massively embarked on the registration of everyone's mobile phone numbers. This has helped governments to identify the owner of each phone and to reduce crime in their countries.

Without registration, it will be very hard for the government to identify culprits and also for the police to make investigations.

I think the NPP government has made the right decision; after all, we need to go forward as a nation and this might be the beginning that would benefit everyone, as well as making a good use of the essentials of modern technology.

If the government wants Ghana to progress, it should be a country where one can’t make a call if your phone number is not registered. For example, in Belgium, one can’t make a call if your number is not registered.

I understand the Minority Leader’s argument that many Ghanaians are in the system and, therefore, don't have cards. That’s a challenge for the government to provide everyone with an Identity card to make it easier for those without one to register their mobile numbers.

In this case, all that the government can do to make sure every Ghanaian has an identity card and to extend the deadline of December, as suggested by the Minister of Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.

The required registration procedure must remain free, no telephone company takes money from users during the registration of numbers.

Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, note also that the registration of mobile phone numbers is a measure taken as part of a package of legislative amendments aimed at combating extremism and terrorism in many advanced countries.

Therefore, with the introduction of mandatory registration by the government, Ghana will definitely notice the crime rate in the country will gradually reduce to make life better for the common people.

Someone may ask, how can I make a call with a new sim card if my phone is stolen? You can get a new sim card, then again you register the new number with the provider.