March 25, 2023

Seasoned Journalist, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, has called on the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful to reconsider the punitive action against unregistered SIM card holders.

The National Communications Authority (NCA) recently communicated to the public that those whose SIM cards are not re-registered will be blocked for 48 hours.

This means they will not be able to make calls and access internet services as well as other important phone services.

The Authority ordered the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to comply with the directive which began days ago.

“All unregistered SIM cards of the MNOs (no registration attempt and stage one only) should be blocked after September 30, 2022. All unregistered SIM cards Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) should be blocked after September 30, 2022.”

“Subscribers who fully register their SIM cards within the period they have been blocked will only be unblocked by the MNOs after the 48 hours to avoid the MNOs tampering with their systems intermittently,” the NCA said in a letter.

Ex-Prez Mahama’s SIM card blocked

Former President John Dramani Mahama, in an interview on TV3, raised concerns about the SIM card blocking, defining it as problematic.

“The SIM registration, you can even start with new SIM cards and say that ‘No Ghana Card, No SIM card’ if you are purchasing. So we can start at that point while we mop up the others in the system. But if you say by September 30th, everybody must have it or else we will take punitive actions against you . . . your data will be more expensive, we will block your outgoing calls and so on and so forth, that’s a major problem,” he said.

“And I must say I suffered a bit of that experience with the call barring. On one of my phones, my outgoing calls were not going through. My SIM was blocked for two days. They have turned it back on. We went through the process of registering.”

“They said it wasn’t registered properly. That’s the kind of information I got, we didn’t complete the exercise and yet they came here and sat with us and did SIM registration here and we called them to my office and so all my staff and everybody went through the registration but most of my staff found their calls blocked,” Mr. Mahama stated.

Kwesi Pratt to NCA and Minister

Touching on the matter during Peace FM’s “Kokrokoo” programme, Kwesi Pratt Jnr made submissions in apparent agreement with the former President for the NCA to lessen the strictness in their decision against the unregistered SIM cards.

He shared similar concerns that there are some Ghanaians who through no fault of theirs haven’t acquired their Ghana Cards, so cannot be made to suffer the same fate as those who haven’t registered their SIM cards though they have received their Ghana Cards.

He also noted that the blocking of the SIM cards threatens the daily activities of many people as there are some people who blocking them means depriving them of their livelihood.

“With some people, their life has been programmed on the phone. The food the person must take, his or her medication, his or her rising time in the morning; their entire world is their phone. So, the phone is very important for various pertinent activities”, Mr. Pratt said and appealed that “if there is something to do to ease the situation, let’s do it to bring relief to every person,” Kwesi Pratt Jnr.

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