Tanzania: As Deadline Nears, 21.7 Million SIM Cards Yet to Be Listed

AS 17 are days left to the deadline for biometric registration of SIM cards, at least 21.7 million out of 47 million SIM cards were yet to be registered by December 10 this, year.

Besides, available figures show that over 19.6 million SIM cards were registered biometrically within the same timeframe, and members of the public who have not registered biometrically are being urged to comply.

The Director General of the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Eng James Kilaba, revealed during a seminar with journalists to raise awareness on the status of the biometric registration of SIM cards held in Dar es Salaam, on Friday.

Eng Kilaba further told reporters that 5.6 million SIM cards which are owned by three million people with national identification numbers (NIN) were yet to be registered.

He said the owners possess NIN but were still reluctant to register their SIM cards biometrically.

According to him, the number of 47 million SIM cards in the country accounts for 21.1 million people, while 10.5 million people account for the number of unregistered SIM cards biometrically.

"I encourage people who have already acquired their national identification numbers but have not yet finalised their biometric registrations to do so as soon as possible...there is no reason which is holding them back to meet the requirement. "As for those who have filed applications to the National Identification Authority (NIDA), they should follow up on the status of their application under the highlighted procedures instead of waiting to be informed," said Eng Kilaba.

He added that the authority gave several guidelines for registering SIM cards biometrically for private individuals, companies or institutions, foreigners and tourists, diplomats and diplomatic institutions.

Plus, SIM cards used by individuals under the age of 12 and 18 years who will have to use their parents' or guardians' national identification authority cards.

The rest include SIM cards for those without fingers or their finger prints cannot vividly be detected through the biometric registration process.

For a person whose finger prints are not readable or the person is without fingers, a service provider will have to direct the customer to any nearest NIDA offices for verification. He noted that NIDA will verify and enable registration by improvising a questionnaire to the customer.

On the other hand, the customer will have to return to the provider for further registration.

"To acquire one's national identification number, people should opt to follow the highlighted several processes offered free of charge or under a minimal payment of 100/- to acquire the crucial details," stressed the DG.

However, NIDA Director General Dr Arnold Kihaule urged those who have not applied for NIN to do so considering the magnitude and importance of the exercise to individuals and the country as a whole.

Likewise, the ones who registered but are yet to acquire their numbers should make follow ups and obtain the status of their application.

He, however, cautioned unscrupulous individuals who have gone to the extent of fabricating online applications that do not belong to NIDA for their own benefits to refrain from such acts.

"Serious measures will be taken against all those who will be caught and will serve as an example to others who have similar negative motives," said Dr Kihaule.

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