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The National Communications Authority (NCA) has directed all telecommunication operators and internet service providers to deactivate a wide category of SIM cards from their network.

This follows the recent reports of fraudulent SIM registration in the country, charging the telcos to ensure that same reflect in the central SIM register on Monday, April 17, 2023.

Failure to provide evidence of carrying out the directive by Tuesday, April 18, 2023, according to the NCA will come with sanctions to defaulting operators.

READ ALSO: NCA asked to clamp down on telcos over SIM re-registration fraud

The directive is contained in a letter addressed to all operators, dated April 13, 2023 and signed by Acting Deputy Director-General (Technical Operations) at NCA, Professor Ezer Osei Yeboah-Boateng as intercepted by Techfocus24.

The directive requires the telcos to go with the following procedure:

1. Delink all SIMs that have been disconnected in compliance with the 31st March, 2023 deadline from their SIM registration databases and same should reflect in the Central SIM Register by Monday, 17th April 2023. These should include SIMs that remain blocked in compliance with the Hon. Minister’s directive on 30th November 2022.

2. Indicate in writing to the NCA, by Tuesday, 18th April 2023, the total number of SIMs disconnected as per directive one above.

3. Delink, deactivate and remove all SIMs registered after the limit of ten (10) from their SIM Registration databases and same should reflect in the Central SIM Register by Monday, 17th April 2023.

The NCA then provided the operators with the list of SIMs registered after the list of
ten (10) to assist them target those SIMs.

READ ALSO: MP calls for shut down of NCA over SIM re-registration fraud

The letter said “This directive supersedes our directive dated 11th April 2023” adding that
“Failure to comply with the directives above shall be in violation of Regulations 1 of the Subscriber Identity Module Registration Regulations, 2011.”

Regulation 1 of the SIM Registration require that every SIM must complete a registration process as directed by the NCA in accordance with the NCA Act 2008, Act 769.

Dire Implications

Following the directive, the operators have reached out to NCA to try and discuss the dire implications of the directive on businesses and individuals, but the NCA is bent on dealing with the ongoing fraudulent SIM registration drastically therefore not budging on the directive.

For instance, industry players say the directive will directly affect numbers associated with mobile money wallets and force those numbers to be churned from the various network, in direct contrast to the dormancy provisions in the Payment Systems & Services Act 2019, which requires a 2-year dormancy for inactive accounts to be churned.

Techfocus24 reported further that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) was not consulted on the potential impact of the directive on mobile money. Indeed, the NCA and BoG are said to be very territorial and therefore do not really have a good working relationship where collaborative regulation of the industry is concerned.

READ ALSO: NDC attributes SIM re-registration mess to ‘incompetent, clueless NCA, Communications Ministry supervision

Is this the cure to the fraud?

Questions have been asked as to whether this mass SIM registration will solve the fraudulent SIM registration, which is enabled by the failing of the NCA itself.

The entire issue of people unaware that their Ghana Card had been used to register multiple SIMs is because the NCA SIM registration platform does not have a verification component. The data collected by the NCA is incompatible with the NIA’s database and therefore cannot be used for verification purposes – while the NCA is aware of this, they themselves do not have a verification platform and are playing politics with Ghanaians and the industry.

Find the NCA letter attached:

READ ALSO: SIM re-registration fraud: NCA playing to political gallery rather than the technicalities – Sam George