The Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), has stated emphatically that, his outfit cannot issue Ghana Cards to all persons who need them to register their SIM cards, before the stated September 30th deadline.
Prof. Kenneth Agyeman Attafuah, insists this is “impossible” revealing his office has “actively” engaged both the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, to that effect.
Interestingly, both Ursula and the NCA head, Joe Anokye, are yet to speak on this matter and appear rather stuck to their timeline.
The Ghana card is the sole document for the re-registration of SIM cards whose deadline has been set for September 30 by the Communications Minister. This means that not all the nearly 2 million Ghanaians phone users who do not have the Ghana Card yet, will be able to register their SIM cards before the deadline.
According to Prof. Attafuah, the NIA currently does not have the capacity to print Ghana Cards for the Ghanaians who need them to register their SIM Cards.
“There is no way that NIA can register those people. It is technically physically impossible. We had said way back in March that it was impossible. I have said it is like expecting a maiden to make a baby every three months.
“That is not how the physical and logistical system has been designed to respond. We cannot do that,” he said.
The NIA boss went on to say that NCA was fully aware of the limitation of his outfit.
“It is not for NIA to proffer advice on that as it falls outside its mandate. However, I can say on authority that we have engaged actively with the National Communications Authority, and with the Minister [of Communications and Digitalisation] since last year,” he noted.
The NCA, on September 5, 2022, announced that persons, who have not registered their SIM cards would be barred from receiving certain services, including all outgoing voice calls and data services.
The NCA, explained in a statement that the move forms part of punitive actions ahead of the SIM re-registration deadline, which takes effect on September 30, 2022.
The NCA, however, reiterated that persons who fail to register their SIM cards before the September 30 deadline would have their numbers blocked permanently.
The Minister of Communication, indicated that as of July 28, 2022, there were 42,121, 921 SIM cards with 25,260,661 voice SIMs completing stage one of the registration process, representing 60 per cent of the total registration.
The Minister, said stage one had 16,861,260 unregistered SIM cards representing 40 per cent, while 16,590,350 SIMs representing 38 per cent had fully completed the stage one and stage two registration process.
So far, there are about two million eligible persons left to be registered for the Ghana card.
Prof Attafuah, told journalists at a press briefing on Friday, September 16, 2022 that, “there is no way that NIA can register those people before the deadline.
“It is technically, physically impossible,” he noted.
“We had said way back in March that it was impossible”, stressed Prof Attafuah.
“I have said it is like expecting a maiden to make a baby every three months,” he illustrated.
“That is not how the physical and logistical system has been designed to respond. We cannot do that.”
He, however, noted that: “It is not for NIA to proffer advice on that [SIM registration deadline] as it falls outside its mandate”.
“However, I can say on authority that we have engaged actively with the National Communications Authority, and with the Minister [of Communications and Digitalisation] since last year.”
All unregistered SIMs cards, will be blocked after the September 30, deadline.
The NIA also disclosed that, over 34,000 Chinese nationals have registered for the National Identification Card, also known as the Ghana card.
According to the NIA boss, this makes China, the country among the over 200 hundred countries whose nationals are in Ghana.
Meanwhile, Prof. Attafuah, has revealed that among the over two hundred countries whose nationals are in Ghana, with a total registration of 161,076, Chinese nationals are leading with over 34,000 of them registered.”
He added that the embattled Aisha Huang’s records do not exist in the Authority’s books, but the robust nature of the registration led to her possession of a Ghana Card.
NIA boss, also disclosed that some Ghanaians are demanding to be paid before they go for their Ghana cards which have already been printed stating this attitude is affecting the free flow of the registration process.
“There were people during the mass registration, who were sitting there, registration centres, and cards are there. They are not picking them up. There were people who were asking that we pay them before they go and take their own Ghana Card. That you have to pay me.
“We were in Koforidua about three months ago. We were on field monitoring. I got someone whose card was there, I asked him to go collect the card and he said there is no need for it now when the need arises, he will go for it. In my hometown, Akim Oda, somebody actually told me that I should give her money before she will go and collect her card,” Prof. Attafuah mentioned.