Numerous citizens of the Volta region’s Ketu South Municipality have flocked to the offices of various telecom companies to demand money that has been frozen in their mobile money wallets.
This comes after the deactivation of their SIM cards, which was ordered by the Ministry of Communications and the National Communications Authority (NCA) to happen with all SIM cards that weren’t linked to the Ghana Card.
Some of the locals who vented their anger to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at the MTN office’s forecourt in Aflao claim that the incident was negatively affecting their everyday lives because the majority of them held their whole life savings and business assets in their mobile money wallets.
“I don’t have a bank account and all my money is in my wallet – my entire life savings and even the capital I use for trading are all locked up in my wallet. I just don’t know what to do now,” Ms Cynthia Henyo, a distraught resident lamented to the GNA.
Mr Anthony Akpaloo, another aggrieved resident said: “I wasn’t able to collect my Ghana Card even after going through the registration process several months ago. This situation has really affected my business operations. Even money to take care of my family’s needs is all locked up in the wallet.”
The web application used for the biometric verification step of the re-registration process was always unstable, according to GNA investigations, and those who visited the various telco offices were unable to have their service reactivated. As a result, the crowd had to wait for hours before being turned away in the evening.
“Many people had to return home because the App has been down since morning. I have been trying to load the details of one person for about two hours now, but that has not gone through. The process takes less than five minutes, but the hold-up for reconnection has been due to the slow connection of our application,” an agent of one of the telcos explained.
There were around 42 million active SIM cards in the nation on October 1, 2021, the start date of the SIM re-registration process.
They were composed of SIM cards linked to IDs like passports, driving licenses, and national health insurance cards.
The NCA who ordered the re-registration claimed that many of the IDs were not confirmed when they were used to register the SIMs, which is why it was necessary to do so.
After the first round of the exercise, the NCA estimates that there were about 36 million active SIM cards in use as of May 2023, of which 25 million, or 69.6%, had been properly re-registered.
This indicates that more than 25.4 million SIM cards had successfully completed phases one and two of the SIM re-registration, which was carried out using authenticated Ghana Cards.
The remaining 11 million, or 30.4%, are made up of active SIM cards that are excluded due to different demographics and active SIM cards that haven’t been reregistered with the Ghana Card using the current procedure.
Approximately 6.1 million SIM cards that belonging to subscribers who had only finished stage one of the current registration process have already been cancelled by the NCA.
The inhabitants requested that the Ministry of Communications, the NCA, and Telcos expedite the re-registration procedure so they can withdraw their frozen monies and resume their regular lives.