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Government has not abandoned SIM card registration set for this year -George Andah

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The Deputy Minister of Communication, George Andah says the government has not abandoned plans to re-register SIM cards in the country.

Speaking on PM EXPRESS, BUSINESS EDITION on the JoyNews channel, Mr Andah noted that, even though there have been some setbacks because of the coronavirus pandemic government would kick start the process to undertake the exercise when the pandemic is over. 

The program brought players in the telecoms and E-Commence space to discuss the topic ‘going virtual in the midst of coronavirus. The panellists included the CEO of the Telecoms Chamber Ken Ashigbe, CEO of the Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlements Systems, Archie Hesse and Saqip Nazir, CEO of Emergent Payments Ghana Limited.  

Mr Andah noted that it might be important to first finalize the on-going National Identification and see how it can aid this process.

Background 

Engaging journalists last year, Minister of Communication, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful indicated that Mobile network subscribers will be required to re-register their SIM cards from January 1st to end of June 2020.   

The Minister noted that failure on the part of subscribers to take advantage of the six-month opportunity will result in having their SIM cards deactivated. 

“Any SIM card which is not registered will be deactivated by June 2020, giving a six-month time frame for this exercise. We entreat all citizens, residents and visitors to cooperate to ensure the success of this exercise for our collective security,” she added. 

With approval from Cabinet, the Minister of Communication believes that the new move will help restore the confidence and trust in the entire ICT ecosystem and enhance the activities of the law enforcement agencies in clamping down on crime committed using these SIM cards.

Supporting the growth of E-Commence in Ghana

Mr Andah also indicated that the government is committed to helping put the right infrastructure in place to aid the growth of the sector. He cited a recent decision to grant telcos extra bandwidth as one of the measures.

He said government’s plan to go cashless with all its services by June this year has not been abandoned. He, however, noted that the coronavirus pandemic has somehow slowed the process, but added it would surely happen.

Other speakers on the program and concerns  

Speaking on the same program, Saqip Nazir noted that even though the government has put in place the required structures to develop the sector a lot more has to be done to discourage the use of physical cash. He also called for some tax breaks for businesses that go digital.   

Chief Executive of the Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlement System (GhIPSS) Archie Hesse also assured that the required infrastructure would be put in place to support E-Commerce businesses.  

Me Hesse added that his outfit has also put in place the necessary measures and programs to make sure that all transactions are protected from any fraudsters.

On the cost of Data, the Chief Executive of the Telecoms Chamber, Ken Ashigbe noted that telcos are committed to reducing the cost of data for everyone. 

He, however, maintained rising cost operations and frequent fibre cuts are somehow making it difficult to achieve that.



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