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Policy to deactivate unregistered SIM cards is uninformed – Sam George

Ningo Prampram lawmaker Samuel Nartey George has criticised a decision by the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation Ursula Owusu-Ekuful to deactivate all unregistered SIM cards.

Sam George says this policy position is not just uninformed but shows the Minister is unfit for the office she occupies.

Madam Owusu-Ekuful has said that all SIM cards which have completed the first stage of the registration exercise but not done the second phase will be blocked from accessing data services on 20th November 2022 and completely deactivated on 30th November 2022.

She urged all persons who are yet to complete their registration to contact the National Communications Authority (NCA) or the requisite network operator if they require any assistance.

“A further announcement will be made shortly on measures to accommodate those who genuinely do not have Ghana cards, once the ongoing consultations have been completed.
I would like to applaud all players in the SIM Registration Exercise value chain on the achievements attained so far,” a statement she issued on Friday November 11 said.

But in a statement, Sam George said “What is the basis for your general conclusion on all who have not completed stage 2 registration? That they are recalcitrant? That is the most unintelligent reasoning I have heard in your rather unimpressive stint as Minister,’ he said.

Below is his full statement…

Dear Ursula Owusu,

I have noted with renewed concern your ‘unofficial’, uninformed and retrogressive ‘directive’ to MNOs to deactivate data services on SIMs that have done stage 1 registration but not completed stage 2 registration.

I refer to the ‘directive’ as ‘unofficial’ because you have refused to write a letter either from the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation Ghana or the National Communications Authority Ghana to the Telecommunications Companies. You expect them to carry out your uninformed fiat by way of a press statement or Facebook post of yours? Really? Is that what you have reduced the distinguished office of Minister of Communications to? The same office occupied by Edward Salia, Spio-Garbah, John Mahama, Mike Ocquaye, Albert Kan-Dapaah, Haruna Iddrisu and Omane Boamah? Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

This policy position is not just uninformed but shows you are clearly unfit for the office you occupy. What is the basis for your general conclusion on all who have not completed stage 2 registration? That they are recalcitrant? That is the most unintelligent reasoning I have heard in your rather unimpressive stint as Minister.

There are individuals who have completed stage 1 registration but misplaced their Ghana Cards before being able to complete stage 2 at a Telco Office. These persons have had to go and apply for replacement cards at the NIA. The challenges with that process are not new to any rational mind.

Another group of persons who have completed the stage 1 but not stage 2 are those whose card have been unreadable when they have gone to the Telco offices. These persons have had to go back to the NIA and apply for replacements. How you as Minister can conclude that these citizens, many of whom have been frustrated by the cumbersome process you have chosen, are recalcitrant and so should be punished beats logical thinking.

If you are convinced your directive is grounded in law and can stand scrutiny, why are you refusing to officially write to the MNOs? That has always been how directives have been communicated to them. If the MNOs – MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana and AirtelTigo Ghana – proceed with this ‘illegal’ directive without any written documentation, they should be prepared to face us, on behalf of the citizens, in Court as we fight for what is right, proper and just.

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