Ghana has extended its deadline for citizens to register and link their details to SIM cards, admitting it will not be able to register all SIMs within the original timeframe.
In a statement, the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation has said there was a number of factors to not meeting its original March 31 deadline, a key one being people have yet to obtain their national identity cards.
The SIM registration order began on October 1 last year but as of March 17 only 14 million SIM cards have been linked to Ghana Cards, and over 7.5 million citizens have yet to obtain their ID cards. The deadline has been extended to July 31.
“It is clear that the deadline for completion of the registration of the remaining active SIM cards cannot be met,” said minister of communications Ursula Owusu-Ekulful.
The processing for ID cards has been reportedly slow with some citizens waiting for hours in line to process their details. More time is also required to facilitate diplomats and residents that are abroad.
“We commend all Ghanaians and foreign residents in Ghana for their support in ensuring that through this exercise, we develop and build a credible SIM database with integrity, which will help address issues of cyber fraud and promote secure SIM Card based transactions as part of our efforts to digitally transform the economy, said Owusu-Ekulful.
Ghana's decision to implement a national ID card scheme has seen pushback from citizens concerned with data privacy.