NCA engages telecos over long queues in SIM re-registration

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Dr Ken Ashigbey, said there have been ongoing talks between the National Communication Authority (NCA) and mobile operator in the country to discuss the challenges being posed by the ongoing SIM card re-registration.

In an interview with Emma Apaw on NewsNight on Thursday, Mr Ashigbey, said his office had noticed the difficulties, in particular the long queues, affecting the exercise at the various registration centres.

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“Even today around 3 o’clock, there was a meeting between the NCA and the operators; all looking at the challenges that are coming up and figuring out ways in which we’ll be able to better improve the system that we currently have”, Mr Ashigbey intimated.

Taking the feedback they’re getting from registration grounds, he further reiterated that measures have to be put in place to curb the challenges to allow for a smooth run of the exercise.

“At the end of the day, the assessment is based on what we’re seeing. So once you see these long queues at the various centres, some of which have even resulted in some of our members having to close some of their centres; it has resulted in some COVID-19 cases in some centres and all of that, that definitely is worrying.”

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“The good thing about it is that it has been a system that we’ve constantly been monitoring and doing a lot of improvement,” he said.

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JoyNews visited some registration centres and observed that many participants were frustrated and ready to stop with the process due to the long hours of queueing. Some were angry at the slow pace and expressed that a more convenient approach could have been used in order to limit the challenges from this manual approach.

Reacting to these concerns, Mr Ken Ashigbey mentioned that as technicians and stakeholders, they are considering smoother means to ease the growing inconveniences.

“The self-service that we’re doing at the first stage, we should be able to design a system again that enables some people to do some self-service, even with the biometric capture.

Because, if you have a system in which I can put my finger on a particular device and then be able to link that device to the NIA database, such that if there’s a match, then that feedback comes, that will be something that would help.

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It will then eliminate you and me who can do it ourselves and then we can reduce the numbers. So I’m hoping that as we continue to engage, we should be able to design a system that enables that to happen. If that happens, it will definitely cut the number of people and improve the user experience that currently characterises what it is that we’re dealing with at this stage”, Mr Ashigbey stated.

The NCA in collaboration with the National Identification Authority, are the pioneers behind the nationwide SIM re-registration for mobile users, in order to help reduce cyber security and create a functional database for Ghanaians.

The exercise, which began on October 1, 2021, has entered a second stage in January 2022, which requires owners of mobile phones to move to designated locations to register their SIM cards with their service providers.

According to the NCA, persons who fail to satisfy the stated requirements will have their SIM cards blocked at the end of the nationwide exercise in March 2022.

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