SIM card registration process must be intensified – Ndala

Martin Endjala

Following the extension of the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card registration deadline from 1 January 2024 to 31 March 2024, by Information Communication and Technology Minister Peya Mushelenga, Duminga Ndala of the Landless People’s Movement stressed the need to intensify the registration process.

Ndala stated that it is now the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that, by the set deadline, all subscribers have completed their registration.

“Three months is a sufficient timeframe, but what needs to be done is to launch campaigns emphasizing the importance of registering our SIM cards, considering the lengthy period provided over the past two years, which has now been extended,” she said

She reiterated the importance of having comprehensive data for the country and suggested that one way to boost registration is by having Mobile Telecommunication Companies collaborate closely with local authority councilors and regional councilors.

Ndala believes that local authorities and regional councils have direct access to the majority of the population since they are the primary providers of essential services.

She also proposed involving universities and schools during the registration period and establishing registration centres across the country to expedite the process.

Furthermore, she called on Mobile Telecommunication Companies to enhance their online registration platform, citing concerns about system malfunctions, which have led to complaints from the public.

Many individuals had to stay up until 02:00 to complete their SIM card registration.

As of December 27, 2023, the Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology reported that mobile operators collectively registered 62.5 percent of active SIM card users, totaling 1,491,349 out of 2,383,920 active subscribers.

This represents a substantial portion of subscribers registering despite having ample time since June 2022.

With the extended deadline and additional measures implemented by the operators, there is optimism that all subscribers will comply with the law.

It is worth noting that the registration of SIM cards is not an ongoing process, and Mushelenga warned that unregistered SIM cards will be suspended after the deadline, potentially leading to unintended consequences.

He urged all subscribers who have not yet registered to take advantage of the grace period.

Mushelenga clarified that mandatory SIM card registration is a government policy aimed at addressing security concerns, combating crime, and facilitating the implementation of digital services.

The registration will also help manage mobile fraud, support the rollout of e-services, and aid in digital surveillance and interception for criminal investigations and counter-terrorism efforts.

Mushelenga made it clear that mobile phones are essential for providing digital and online services, enabling virtual education, mobile banking, and online shopping for citizens.

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