Posted by: Isaac Bruce | June 29, 2011

90 days out of Coverage Area

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.

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Responses

  1. Great piece and definitely thought-provoking. I really hope that the data protection bill should be given much thought. This exercise has come at a time that the controversy about phone conversation tracking with the security agencies and the partisan political debate associated with it. 90 day extension or not, the mobile portability seems to be a laudable project but when will this nation learn to meet deadlines and attempt to put all necessary structures in place for a major policy. Lets hope for the best.

  2. great post Isaac!
    A friend of mine always refers to the fact that many policy makers have that excellent education usually acquired off the shores of our mother Ghana – The point they make, and which I want to echo is – They are fully aware that what they are doing is illegal and poorly coordinated. Thus the more likely reason that shows – without wilt – is that, there is an ulterior motive, otherwise I dare say that our state institutions and regulatory bodies are crying for someone to fire those folks in suits and chale-wotey under the table.
    Prince – The NCA fears the legal and logistical consequences of this flaunting of authority and that’s the only reason why they would postpone the deadline.

    • Wonderful, such a good writer Amonoo! I am positive a lot of things will happen within these 90 days on the part of both NCA and the public. Like your profile picture.

  3. Salient observation…………………… I think policy makers are inconsistent in making decisions.They said 30th June now 90 days more. why cant our yes be yes and no also be no. Good piece

    • Thanks Prince, especially on the objective of this whole exercise, i find it really weird in parallel to what has been communicated out there as the sole objective. Maybe I am just analyzing too much, which is fine. But I feel Ghanaians have the right to know the objective of this exercise and thus protect our rights on the data provided.


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