The Strategic Thinkers Network Africa (Stranek-Africa) has urged the government to sensitize the public on electronic money fraud rather than ask Ghanaians to re-register their SIM cards.
In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Nii Tettey Tetteh, he said that positive results will be yielded if public education is done.
His comments come after the Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, mentioned that all SIM cards in use in the country will have to be re-registered using the Ghana card between June and July.
Bawumia explained that the move was part of measures to help in the formalization of the local economy.
The Vice-President also explained that the re-registration exercise is needed to help curb activities such as mobile money and SIM box fraud.
But STRANEK-Africa, believes that the problem of mobile money and SIM box fraud can be solved if network operators are made to invest in modern monitoring systems.
“Instead of re-registration of SIMs, STRANEK-Africa have realized that if government urges mobile network operators to do more sensitization to the public on electronic money fraud and campaign vigorously against such menace, good testimonies will emanate from adopting such approach… Mobile network operators should be urged to spend big on tools that can detect cyber fraud and check it as well as hiring personnel as part of investing in modern monitoring systems.”
The think-tank also called on the Communications Ministry to focus on ensuring a good quality network instead of re-registering of SIM cards.
“Mobile network operators are delivering poor services and it will be prudent for the ministry of communication and government to focus on ensuring network quality instead of re-registration.”
Read the full statement below:
Mobile money has come to stay since most of our transaction are done through that. It was introduced in the year 2009 but it took a while to gain traction. Almost every Ghanaian has a mobile money account because of its convenience. Even though it is boosting the economy and shortening the long stay in the banks, it has also manueveured its way to attract electoral money fraud.
The Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said the Minister for Communication and Digitization will announce re-registration of all Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards in use in Ghana as part of measures to help in the formalization of the Ghanaian economy with the aim of helping curb activities such as SIM box and Mobile Money Fraud. He mentioned this at the 5th CEO Summit in Accra. He added, Ghana Card will be used for the re-registration of all SIM numbers and a six-month grace period has been earmarked for this project. The question is, how realistic is this project considering the grace period in the era of the pandemic as well as capital expenditure and administrative costs?
STRANEK-Africa acknowledges how the Vice President of Ghana is doing so well to justify the existence of the Ghana Card but these comments from the Vice President of Ghana are erroneous so far as the fight against SIM box and Mobile Money Fraud is concerned. This is because the benefit for re-registration of SIMs will be very infinitesimal and rather, cause more challenges to users of mobile money services, mobile network operators including incoming travellers who require a sim card without a national ID, huge cost to the mobile network operators, toll on customers among others. Also, mobile money vendors are the hardest hit in terms of electronic money fraud hence re-registration of SIM cards does not substantially alleviate them from the snares of the fraud.
STRANEK-Africa has for eons, fervently championed for Ghana Card to be done properly in order to achieve its purpose of better identification. It is trite knowledge the challenges Ghana Card registration has gone through to wit, approximately 55% of Ghana’s population have registered including some registrants providing false information which is not verified by the National Identification Authority. Moreover, there is no data to monitor changes of the residency of people who engage in electoral money fraud with the use of the Ghana Card.
Government can mimic what other jurisdictions in their struggle against such similar issues did to mitigate it. In the United States of America, modern monitoring systems were provided in addition to hiring more people to ensure issues in that gamut are curbed.
Mobile network operators should be urged to spend bigly on tools that can detect cyber fraud and check
it as well as hiring personnel as part of investing in modern monitoring systems.
Instead of re-registration of SIMs, STRANEK-Africa have realised that if government urges mobile network operators to do more sensitization to the public on electoral money fraud and campaign vigorously against such menace, good testimonies will emanate from adopting such approach.
Also, mobile network operators are delivering poor services and it will be prudent for the ministry of communication and government to focus on ensuring network quality instead of re-registration.
Indeed, we should all get involved in building our motherland Ghana.