The Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Regulation, 2011 (Legislative Instrument 2006) which was presented to Parliament on November 30, 2011 comes into force, February 2, 2012 after the House had adopted the report of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee on the instrument Wednesday.
By the coming into force of the instrument, a framework has been provided to give legal backing to the SIM registration exercise and no mobile phone operator will be able to issue a SIM card to any customer without registration, while people who use unregistered SIM cards will have their SIMs deactivated.
However, the LI provides a satisfactory transitional arrangement to give unregistered subscribers a window of opportunity to register their SIMs within a 30-day grace period beginning from Friday.
The Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh, moved the motion for the adoption of the committee’s report and he was seconded by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tain, Mr Ahmed Ibrahim.
Presenting the report of the committee, Mr Osei-Prempeh observed that mobile phones had become part and parcel of the everyday life of people across the world, with Ghana being no exception.
“The emergence of the communication tool has created increased opportunities and innovations in the field of communications and commerce, thereby playing a significant role in the socio-economic development of the country,” he said.
He said as a result of the increased competition in the telecommunications industry, the country had reached a stage where SIM cards and other aspects of technology had become almost free, making it easier for people to acquire SIM cards and also dispose of them.
Mr Osei-Prempeh said despite those significant developments, some unscrupulous people had taken advantage of modern technology to commit crimes and carry out other anti-social acts.
He said statistics indicated that a number of people were recently arrested and convicted of SIM boxing and other SIM-related crimes through the use of unregistered SIMs, adding that it was on record that one person was arrested with 3,600 SIM cards engaging in illegal telecommunication operations in the country.
He said those illegal activities usually resulted in huge loss of revenue to the state and service providers and caused deterioration in the quality of service.