Ningo Prampram MP Sam Nartey George has said the four-month extension of the SIM card registration exercise is not enough but, however, welcomes it as a good step toward resolving some of the problems associated with the nationwide exercise.
The Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation extended the deadline from 31 March 2022 to 31 July 2022.
A statement from the ministry issued on Tuesday, 22 March 2022 said: “As of 17 March, 14,091,542 SIM cards had been linked to the Ghana card” while “10,348,532 bio-captures” had been conducted and 99,445 new SIMs registered.
The ministry said, “Due to a number factors including the fact that over 7.5 million citizens and residents are yet to obtain Ghana cards to enable them to register their SIM cards, it is clear that the deadline for the completion of the registration of the remaining active SIM cards cannot be met”.
Also, it said, “More time will also be required to update the SIM registration app for the registration of diplomats while a self-service SIM registration app is also being developed to facilitate the registration of SIM cards for Ghanaians resident abroad”.
This will be operational by mid-April, the statement noted.
“The Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation has, therefore, extended the deadline for the registration of SIM cards to 31 July 2022”, the statement announced.
Speaking on the extension, the Deputy Ranking Member of the Communications Committee of Parliament told Korku Lumor on Class91.3FM’s 505 evening news programme on Tuesday, 22 March 2022: “Well, I think common sense has finally prevailed”.
“What we’ve been calling on the ministry to do is just common sense. You may have your desires but the reality on the ground do not support your desires and, so, extend the deadline, allow more people to get involved, allow a better process that’s more inclusive”, the opposition MP explained.
In Mr George’s view, “The ministry had been quite recalcitrant on it”.
“Unfortunately, this morning [Tuesday, 22 March 2022], we saw a stampede at the offices of the NIA because people were trying to beat the deadline and it just beats our imagination why the ministry will put Ghanaians through that”, he pointed out.
Mr George surmised: “Maybe that has woken them up and got them to give the extension”.
He, however, noted: “I think the extension in itself is inadequate but at least, it is a good first step that says that finally common sense is prevailing and the ministry is listening to wise counsel that has been given for quite a while now”.
“Our condolences go to the injured persons at the NIA offices. We wish them speedy recovery”, he said.