The deadline for the exercise to re-register SIM cards with the Ghana Card has been extended for the second time to September 30.
This follows the initial extension of the exercise from March 31, 2022 to July 31, 2022, after it had run from October 1, last year.
Taking her turn at the Sunday edition of the Minister's Briefing, the Minister of Communication and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, said the extension meant Ghanaians had been given one full year for the SIM card registration and that no one could blame the government after that.
She said the exercise would be reviewed at the end of this month and any SIM that had not been fully registered by that time would be barred from voice, data and other services.
"The full range of punitive measures will be announced at another press briefing in September. Kindly do not blame your service provider when you suffer that fate due to your own inaction. To be forewarned is to be forearmed," she said.
"The extension was granted to enable over 7.5 million Ghanaians and [other]residents who had not obtained Ghana cards at the time to register their SIM cards.
"As indicated in our press release of March 21, 2022, it was also to give us the opportunity to provide modalities for the registration of diplomats and complete processes for rolling out a Self-Service SIM Registration App to facilitate the registration of SIM cards for both residents and Ghanaians living outside the country," she said.
The Minister explained that the registration exercise had been bedeviled with a number of challenges, including delays in the issuance of Ghana Card by the National Identification Authority (NIA).
Furthermore, she said the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) registration commenced barely a week ago and had only been able to register just about two per cent of their subscribers as of July 29, with many data-only SIM cards owners not being aware they also needed to be registered.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said the security situation in Bawku and its environs had made it difficult and slowed down the exercise in the area.
To address the challenges, she said a Self-Service SIM Registration App would be launched tomorrow as Virtual Private Network (VPN) connectivity and Application Programming Interface (API) integration.
"The SIM Registration App will be available for download on both android and IOS this week, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Each registration via the app will be subject to a 5 cedi surcharge," she said.
She explained that non-resident Ghanaians who did not have the Ghana card could use their passports to complete the process, but would be required to update their details with the Ghana Card later.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said those within this category had up till December 2022 to do so, stressing that, "I urge them to comply with these directives and to contact the National Communications Authority (NCA) if you have any peculiar challenges."
Similarly, she said, Ghanaians on official assignment outside the country or students on scholarships who could not acquire the Ghana Card by December should contact the NCA.
She said all visitors to the country could now acquire SIM cards with their passports and encouraged the Airport Authority to work with mobile network operators to provide adequate venues for the acquisition of SIM cards at the airport.