Re-registration of SIM cards with the National Identification Card otherwise known as the Ghana Card will start at the end of June and last a period of six months, Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has disclosed.
The exercise, according to the minister, will concurrently see to the registration of mobile phone devices in a bid to reduce cyber-crime and related illegal activities in the country.
Speaking in a media interview at a joint high-level Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) event in Accra yesterday, the minister said a comprehensive public education and publicity strategy would soon be put out to enable Ghanaians to have a seamless registration exercise.
“At the end of the six months period, any SIM that is not registered will go off and be disabled so we urge everyone to take advantage of this initiative and register at their leisure.
For those whose SIM cards are already registered, you will just have to verify your number and validate it with your card and with that, you can walk to the nearest service provider to undertake the process,” she clarified.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful indicated that unlike other SIM registration processes which gave room for loopholes which fraudsters took advantage of, the government was “committed to doing it and doing it right this time” to ensure a well-secured database.
“We are currently working on devising a strategy to make many people register as comfortable as possible and the details will be spelt out in the next few weeks. There will be process for people to book and have their SIM cards registered as well as other processes which will be laid out,” she said.
The minister said following the coming into force of the Cyber security Act 2020, the government was determined to ensure proper regulation of the cyber space to build a national information infrastructure.
She said, efforts were underway to operationalise the Cyber Security Authority this year and because the law “makes provision for a Cyber Security Fund, we are working with the Ministry of Finance to activate that as well.”
The Legislator said in an effort to promote voice and data connectivity across the country, the ministry was poised to activate sections of the law that allowed for persons on the rural telephony network to pay lower tariff than those on commercial sites.
She expressed the government’s commitment to develop the cyber-security space to meet best international practices and protect people’s digital rights.
National Cyber Security Advisor, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, in a remark, said the COVID-19 pandemic had reinforced the need to bridge inequalities and gaps in the digital space to ensure that underprivileged and underserved communities in the country had easy access to digital devices and services.
FOC, is a group of 32 governments that work together to advance internet freedom, mainly through shaping global norms through joint statements, multi-stakeholder engagement with their advisory network and through coordinating diplomatic initiatives and interventions at relevant international forums.