Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has indicated that all unregistered merchant SIMs will be blocked permanently at the end of June 2023.
According to her almost 280,000 merchant SIMs have not been registered adding that, “A viral video going rounds on social media a few weeks ago indicated that criminal networks have actually acquired merchant SIMs to facilitate their fraudulent activities,” she said.
The Minister speaking on the floor of Parliament yesterday said a total of 28,948,142 SIM cards have been fully registered, with 199,419 SIMs exempted
Mr. Owusu-Ekuful revealed that the NCA had formed a registration forensic audit team tasked with validating the integrity of the service provider’s data in the central SIM register database and identifying discrepancies or inconsistencies between the service provider’s database and the central SIM register.
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“My information is that some MPs, including the Speaker and leadership, were affected by this exercise,” the minister stated, adding that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) would continue to assist members in completing the process by collaborating with the clerk to facilitate registration for those who wish to participate.
“As the IGP indicated recently, the incidence of SIM based fraud has reduced remarkably since the registration exercise started.
SIM-boxing almost completely disappeared. It will decline even further with the blocking of unregistered SIMs used to commit or facilitate criminal activities,” Ursula said.
According to her, SIM registration will considerably improve national security by eliminating mobile phone users’ anonymity, adding, “The availability of accurate subscriber information will aid law enforcement agencies in investigating and preventing criminal activities.”
She explained that SIM registration will also facilitate the implementation of various government initiatives such as mobile money services, digital financial services and other electronic transactions.
“Accurate subscriber identification enables the expansion of these services and enhances financial inclusion,” she noted, and continued, “By registering SIM cards, citizens are better protected against fraud, unsolicited messages and other forms of misuse of mobile phone services.”
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