The Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation (MoCD) will launch the National SIM Card Registration Exercise across the country next month, October 1 2021.
The Subscriber Identity Module Registration Regulations, 2011, L.I 2006 mandates network operators or service providers to activate a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) only after the subscriber registers the SIM as directed by the NCA.
The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said this when she took her turn at the Minister’s Press Briefing at the Ministry of Information’s Press Center today, Sunday, 5th September, 2021
According to her, every subscriber is required to supply the name and residential or occupational address, date of birth, within the case of an individual; and Certificate of Incorporation, within the case of a body corporate; or registration, within the case of a partnership or an unincorporated body of persons; and an identification document. Only the National positive identification (Ghana Card) issued to a personal shall be used for registration of SIM cards of Citizens, Foreign Residents and Foreigners staying in Ghana for quite 90 days.
She further explained that within the case of foreigners staying in Ghana for fewer than 90 days, a legitimate passport or other travel document is required.
“This isn’t the primary try and register sims but all the previous efforts failed thanks to the dearth of a verifiable secure identification document” she noted. Mrs Owusu-Ekuful indicated that the above situation also led to the influx of pre-registered SIM Cards within the system hence our inability to trace and trace folks that commit crimes with the SIM cards.
“The prevalence of pretend IDs and a non-existent system of verifying the IDs, led to unscrupulous individuals procuring many SIM Cards for SIM Boxing resulting in the loss of revenue for the state. The Ghana card provides the premise for a successful sim registration exercise this time”, she said.

Benefits of Registration
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful stressed that “SIM registration, when undertaken correctly as we will do, will reduce or eliminate fraudulent and criminal activities, help authorities ascertain the accurate number of valid and accurate SIMs on the networks, enable operators to make better demographics of their customer base and help them develop products and services to suit the varied groupings”.
She says the Regulator, NCA, also will get more accurate data to control the industry even better.
She indicated that SIM Registration will enhance economic process as more confidence is made within the telecommunications sector and folks utilize secure devices to access E-Government services and other private mobile based digital solutions. “It will minimize mobile money fraud and support financial inclusion across the vulnerable sectors” Minister added.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful outlined the modalities for SIM Registration. This include:

  1. All new subscribers will must produce their Ghana card to amass a replacement SIM card. For Businesses to register sims in bulk, the Operators are going to be required to verify the Business Registration documents with the Registrar General’s Department and verify the identity of the Shareholder or the Director for liability companies and Public Institutions respectively.
  2. Existing subscribers will register their SIMS via USSD and a sim registration App.
  3. The verification of all subscribers and businesses are going to be against the databases of the National Identification Authority and also the Registrar General’s Department where necessary. Indeed, for the companies, additionally to verifying from the Registrar General’s Department that that Business is valid, a shareholder or director of the organisation will must personally be linked to the registration of the SIMs.
  4. Individuals can register a complete number of 10 SIM Cards across all networks and Foreigners will have a limit of three SIM Cards across all networks. Let me caution here, that folks mustn’t think that they’ll hide behind Businesses and register as many SIM Cards as they require. All SIM Cards registered to a Business are linked to a Shareholder or Director of the Business and if a Business SIM Card is found to own been engaged in a very fraudulent activity, the Shareholder or Director are held liable.
  5. The NCA will develop mechanisms to enable subscribers (individual and Businesses) check and verify all SIM Cards which are registered in their names in the least times.
  6. Foreigners visiting Ghana can acquire a SIM Card using their Passports or Travel Card but they’ll only use the SIM Card for 30 days after which it’ll be deactivated. Foreigners desiring to use a SIM Card for quite 30 days will need to obtain the Non-Citizen Ghana Card to try to to so. The NCA has made it mandatory for the Operators to verify Passports and Travel Cards against a world database before registering and activating a SIM Card for Foreigners. Special arrangements are going to be made for diplomatic personnel living and dealing in Ghana.
  7. one among the interesting things we are doing is to enforce Regulation 6 of the SIM Regulations which states that:
    1) “A network operator or service provider that has international roaming service within the country to a subscriber from another country shall enter into an agreement with the network operator or service provider of that subscriber”.
    2) “The agreement shall provide for the particulars of the subscriber within the records of the network operator or service provider during the amount that the subscriber uses the Subscriber Identity Module within the country”.
    We believe that enforcing this can address the potential issue of would be fraudsters and criminals using SIM Cards from other countries to roam on Ghanaian networks to interact in crime.
  8. The minimum age for registration has been set at 15 years, taking into consideration the increased use of communications services since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic and to facilitate E education.
  9. For the very first time in Ghana, there’ll be a SIM Register rather like countries like Brazil, Germany and Switzerland, which is able to function a database giving comprehensive statistics regarding number of subscribers in Ghana and providing a resource for tracking fraudsters and criminals.
  10. Barring any unforeseen eventualities, SIM Registration will begin on 1st October, 2021 for a six (6) month period and endwise 31st March, 2022. Any sim which isn’t registered at the tip of this exercise are going to be blocked.
  11. The NIA is opening Regional and District Offices to enable Ghanaians who haven’t registered for his or her Ghana Card to be able to do so and that we encourage all Ghanaians and Foreigners resident in Ghana to confirm that they need their Ghana Cards and Non-Citizen Ghana Card ready. additionally, those that have registered but haven’t picked up their Ghana Cards should be able to do so from the assorted NIA offices.

Data Security and Protection
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful explained registration details are accessed upon receipt of a judicial writ to help enforcement agencies to stop, detect, investigate, and prosecute fraud and other criminal activities and to assist emergency and National Security matters like act of terrorism, national disasters and public health emergency.
The data, she said, are stored during a Central SIM Registry at the National Information Technology Agency with very restricted access to the database. “There are going to be strict compliance with the information Protection Act 2012 (Act 843). Furthermore, the info Protection Commission could be a major stakeholder during this exercise” she added.

Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)

Government will be implementing handset and equipment registration alongside the SIM registration and founded the CEIR as stated within the Executive Instrument 63 Minister, MoCD says.
“The Central Equipment Identity Register connects to MNOs’ systems during a non-intrusive manner so as to aggregate all IMEIs coming from all the local operators during a single national IMEI database”.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful says that Mobile device manufacturers estimate that about 5 million mobile devices are imported into the country annually but the required customs duties and taxes are paid on only hr of those imports. “Data from Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), confirms that 40 per cent of those mobile devices enter the Ghanaian market illegally, without Government making the most of the expected tax income, adding, Ghana has about 34 million mobile subscribers with a mobile penetration rate exceeding 119% and there’s a large marketplace for mobile devices.
According to her, the unregulated market in Ghana has resulted during a thriving device black market with sales of smuggled mobile devices, a high incidence of device theft and cloning device identifications. Smuggled devices are sold through visible retail sites, unofficial stores and online websites.
The impact of the She says smuggling and trade of counterfeit mobile devices include the following:

  1. Loss of revenue to government because these products enter the market through unapproved routes and avoid the payment of the required duties and taxes.
  2. Registered businesses should battle unfair competition from smuggled devices which are cheaper and threaten the survival of legitimate businesses.
  3. Health Implications because of products not designed to fulfill regulatory requirements on the market leading to high RF exposure which can cause cancer and other diseases and dangerous battery explosion.
  4. Poor hardware & software design resulting in higher call drops, which exhaust the network resources leading to poor service quality and customer experience.
  5. Influx of stolen phones shipped from other countries by criminal syndicates
  6. Creates an incentive for the theft and resale of devices, increasing the rate and heightening the sense of insecurity among citizens. These stolen devices can even be accustomed commit other crimes.


The Communications and Digitalization Minister further revealed, that to handle the challenge of the smuggling and interchange counterfeit, stolen and substandard mobile devices, and increase the potential for enhanced revenues, technology has been developed to make sure that these devices only function once they enter the country through legal means.
“A Central Equipment Identity Registry (CEIR) records all devices within the country and reduces the influx of smuggled and counterfeit mobile devices”.
She says each operator has an Equipment Identity Registry (EIR) which could be a database that contains all the IMEI numbers of the handsets of all the subscribers on a selected cellular network. She noted that the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) could be a unique identity code, which is given to all or any Global System for Mobile (GSM) devices. “When the mobile device is connected to a specific network, the MSC requests the IMEI of that mobile device then it’s sent to the EIR for further authorization process.
CEIR may be a central EIR database which integrates IMEI numbers of EIR of all the networks. because the information is stored within the CEIR, it’ll be periodically updated within the EIR of all the networks” she said.
The Ghana CEIR, she revealed, are going to be connected to the world database (GSMA database) to access the IMEI of approved and blacklisted devices. this may make sure that mobile devices entering the country are properly authenticated. it’ll even be connected to the databases of all mobile network operators in Ghana, to synchronize and update data of blacklisted and whitelisted devices in Ghana. “This will make sure that only approved mobile devices recognized by the CEIR would function in Ghana. it’ll generate and store an inventory of all blacklisted and whitelisted devices in our own repository”.
Touching on the importation of mobile devices, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful explained that it’ll require that the IMEI of the devices are captured on the CEIR database during declaration. The captured information will synchronize with the GSMA database and make sure the quality and ownership status of the device. Compliance to tariff payment are going to be ensured during the declaration process.

Government’s Commitment

Government, she says has initiated good indigitalisation initiatives and innovations in Ghana and expanding the main target beyond access by implementing programs and plans that specialise in the widespread secure adoption and usage of knowledge and Communications Technologies (ICTs). ” it’s important to encourage the usage of digital applications by consumers, businesses, and public institutions and that we are working to ascertain and maintain secured digital platforms, applications and systems in Ghana. Government believes that having a SIM database and CEIR with integrity may be a key step towards enhancing our digitalization”.
She encouraged all subscribers to start getting their national IDs so as to own a smooth and simple registration process.
“Consumers and also the general public must be empowered with knowledge and insights to assist them understand the requirement for re-registration, the method and therefore the requirement for registration. As partners within the industry, we invite all media houses to assist achieve this objective and that we estimate your support. an in depth publicity exercise are conducted on these issues within the coming days and that we entreat the media to partner government to form this registration exercise successful for our collective good, she said.

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