Sam Nartey George, the MP for Ningo-Prampram, has criticized the imprudence of the September 30 deadline for SIM card re-registration.
The deadline, according to Mr. Nartey George, is impractical because the consequences will be far-reaching.
“A deadline won’t solve the issue by itself. The Ghana Cards cannot be produced by deadlines. This concerns the National Security, he said.
Recall that the Communications and Digitalization Minister “reluctantly” extended the deadline for SIM card re-registration from July 31 to September 30, 2022, during a press briefing on Sunday, July 31.
“I have very reluctantly decided to give a conditional extension after consulting with the industry and in light of the difficulties listed above. The initiative will run through September 30 to mark the anniversary of its start, she said.
The National Communication Authority then proceeded to block SIM cards that had not been reregistered as of September 5th (NCA).
In this regard, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful stated in a Facebook post on September 7 that “A forthcoming news conference in September will expose the full scope of the sanctions. Please do not point the finger at your service provider if you end up in that situation as a result of your own inaction. Being prepared means being forewarned.
Additionally, voice and Internet services will not be available to any SIM that has not yet finished the registration process. Following that, using unregistered SIMs will cost extra.
In response, Mr. George stated in an appearance on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on September 13 that failing to extend the deadline will have effects on the government’s discussions with the IMF for assistance, among other things.
“You see, twice last week she attempted to disable SIM cards. The NCA made a public announcement, but when it came to notifying the telcos of their decision, they did so covertly—quietly at night. They’re now claiming that they won’t be obstructing this week.
“If our nation has a national security apparatus, they won’t let that happen. Again, I can state with confidence that the Minister’s decisions affect more than just the service industry. It has repercussions for Ghana’s current discussions with the IMF. The IMF has received scenarios that show how much money the government generates internally due to our internal revenue generation.
“If 3 million Ghanaians’ SIM cards are blocked, that amounts to around 10 million SIM cards. These SIM cards produce revenue from Communication Service Tax (CST) when they are used for phone calls, CST when they are used for data, and e-levy when they are used for mobile money. All of those numbers will decrease.
“As of right now, the Minister of Communication has not spoken with the Ministry of Finance to determine how the IMF talks will be impacted. That is why I am stating that our national security is a good thing, unless they are asleep. They cannot do nothing and let the Minister speak. She is practicing digital apartheid. Additionally, this is xenophobic in the online world. Article 296 governs the authority she believes she possesses, he said.