The Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), service providers and major stakeholders in the telecommunications sector on Friday, November 8, 2019 held a one-day Public Consultation on a draft new regulation on SIM Cards registration in the country.
The draft regulation, when finalized, would require all service providers to use the National Identification Card as precondition to the issuance of mobile numbers to subscribers. It further seeks to set time lines for enforcement, compelling a new subscriber to present a national identification card before obtaining a mobile number and for old subscribers to submit their National ID Cards to be assigned to their mobile numbers.
According to the LTA, the purpose of the new regulation is to "provide a regulatory framework for the compulsory registration of all activated SIM/RUIM Cards users and the establishment of a control administration and management of a subscriber database for all SIM/RUIM Cards and the users."
The objective of the draft regulation is to "record and maintain personal information of mobile telecommunication subscribers in the Republic of Liberia and to establish, control, administer and protect databases of subscribers." It is also intended to "verify the authenticity of the identity document being used during registration and to establish penalties for violations."
Speaking at the forum held at the Golden Gate Hotel in Paynesville City outside Monrovia, authorities of the LTA said Liberia cannot boast of a digital economy inasmuch SIM Cards registration has been around for while and stated that with the introduction of the National Identification Card, it is time to link the SIM Cards to the national biometric registry.
The LTA's authorities believed that linking the SIM Cards to the National Identification Card would unveil the true identity of people using telecommunication to commit cybercrimes in the country.
For his part, Mr. TiahNagbe, Executive Director of the National Identification Registry informed the forum that his entity has put in place a National Identification Verification Platform which is expected to be rolled out on next week.