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Communications Minister urges public to desist from dealing in pre-registered SIMs

The Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.

Source: GNA

Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, has cautioned members of the public to desist from dealing in pre-registered SIM cards since it is illegal and an offence liable for prosecution.

 She explained that “Dealing in this context comprises the individual, who sells the pre-registered SIM as well as the buyer or user of the SIM.”

 She gave the caution in an address at a consumer forum organised in Tamale by the National Communications Authority (NCA), under the theme: “Safeguarding Consumer Rights through Effective Communications.”

  The forum, attended by people from all walks of life, was for them to meet with service providers to discuss matters of interest in the communications sector.

  Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said the SIM card reregistration exercise was to create a secure and safe environment within the communications space, adding “However, it appears some citizens that this initiative is meant to protect are trying to frustrate it.”

 She said the situation persisted because the law permitted 10 SIMs to be registered per person, adding those engaged in the practice would not be pardoned if implicated in an offence, especially persons, whose names were used in the registration.

  She urged members of the public to follow the laid down procedure to acquire SIM cards, emphasizing that “Individuals, who use their Ghana cards for the registration of SIMs for others, be it family members or friends, should desist from this act.

This is because in the event that those numbers are implicated in any criminal activity, the owner of the Ghana card associated with the SIM will be held liable.”

 Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said the NCA and the Bank of Ghana were working towards the development of a guideline to help deal with some aspects of SIM fraud in the financial services sector.

 She announced that the number of rural telephony sites, which were aimed at promoting digital inclusion and reducing the digital gap, had increased from 78 at the end of 2016 to almost 1,500.

 She added that work was ongoing to build an additional 1,006 sites this year to bring the total number to almost 2,500 sites, saying “This will connect almost five million citizens, who currently do not have access to voice and data services.”

 Dr. Joe Anokye, Director-General, NCA, said following the recent internet disruptions, the NCA had directed mobile and sub-sea cable service providers to submit their back up and redundancy plans to ensure business continuity and seamless connectivity to data services should their cable get cut or develop a major fault.

Dr. Joe Anokye

 He said, “In addition, all mobile network operators are to maintain their existing redundant submarine cable links within the country and to connect to a submarine cable provider in the sub-region that is currently not landing in Ghana.”

 He gave assurance that the NCA would continue to ensure that consumers had access to reliable, and high quality telecommunications services and be protected from unfair practices.

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