You will attest to the fact that we will all be better off if policy makers, business leaders and industry regulators had clearly predicted the global meltdown some three years ago. Perhaps, the difference between that meltdown and the looming meltdown in Ghana is that, this can be clearly predicted by both individuals and groups. If you have been in Ghana or been following news in Ghana for about a year now, the National Communication Authority have been sounding an uncompromising warning to the general public to have their SIM cards registered before June 30, which has now been extended by 90 days. Over the past month, this development has caused a lot of controversies amongst Ghanaians and pushed almost all telecommunication networks (Tigo, Expresso, MTN,…) to go out of their way to innovatively get their customers to register their SIM cards to prevent making calls and losing their numbers permanently after the said date. Currently the process of registration requires either an identification card, passport, national health insurance ID cards.
However, how well are Ghanaians aware of government objectives in carrying out this exercise? As it stands now, most Ghanaians are not much aware of the objectives of this exercise. The least people who are aware have been convinced the exercise is to help combat crime and enable the number portability in the future. I stand to be corrected, but I feel something is a little out of place concerning the nationwide SIM card registration. Perhaps it is just a mere coincidence that the Government of Ghana is currently building a data centre which will be ready in July funded by the Chinese government. It is rather interesting to note the Chinese government is funding the data centre in Ghana after its war with Google on the development of data in China. In effect, the government of China and other key players in that economy has been somewhat conservative on data development, thus why will they even think of funding a data centre for Ghana.
I feel another vital area which is worth looking at is the protection of data we will be providing to government. Thus, it calls for a data protection bill. From the research I have done there seem to be no bill to protect and make sure the information is not used by certain few people to their self-interests. Ninety days is enough time for the NCA and other related bodies to think of this area and its implications. I don’t think anyone will have an excuse for not registering after the ninety days; concurrently the National Communication Authority will not have any excuse for not protecting our information in the future.