- Haruna Iddrisu is a Member of Parliament for Tamale South and a former minority leader of the house of parliament
- He alleged that there have been several social repercussions after unregistered SIM cards were blocked on June 1, 2023
- The MP said the SIM cards had been blocked through no fault of the holders but rather the government agencies responsible for the process
The Member of Parliament for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu, has said that the disconnection of SIM cards is causing relationship breakups and heartaches.
The former minority leader explained that when people cannot reach their significant others, it will lead to trust issues which can cause divorces and breakups.
His comments come after the National Communications Authority (NCA) and Communications and Digitalisation Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful implemented a policy that blocked all unregistered SIM cards on June 1, 2023.
Speaking on the floor of parliament, Haruna Iddrisu said the social effects of the SIM blocks are critical and must be one of the reasons to refrain from such action.
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“Some of those whose SIMs have been blocked have suffered relationship problems. Some probably have lost their girlfriends and contact with their significant others. Even some have been threatened with divorce - very possible. Because why have you not reached out to him or to her - because your SIM has been blocked?
"With this excuse, she (Ursula Owusu-Ekuful) may create problems for many marriages with this SIM blocking," said Haruna Iddrisu.
“We are saying don’t just block SIMs when the fault or problem is not from the person who is holding the SIM.”
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NCA cautioned against the May 31 deadline for SIM registration
Some experts had earlier cautioned the NCA and the Ministry of Communications to rethink the SIM blockages.
A former head of research and communications at the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Derek Barnabas Laryea, recommended that the regulator should exclude data SIMs by the May 31st deadline.
"I recommend that all data SIMs at this time should be excluded from the deadline because millions of these cards will be found here. Also, data SIMs are not necessarily used for Voice or SMS messages, so their safety can be guaranteed, and the focus can be geared towards SIM cards used for general voice, sms and MoMo," he posted on Facebook on May 31, 2023.
Over 9 million SIM cards deactivated for non-registration
The NCA ordered the deactivation of at least nine million unregistered SIM cards that had not been linked to the Ghana national ID scheme.
The directive was given after the Wednesday, May 31, 2023, deadline for SIM registration expired.
If a SIM is blocked, it means the owner will not be able to make or receive calls, send texts or access data services.
The deadline for SIM re-registration had been delayed on a number of occasions before the NCA finally proceeded with the blockages after the May 31 deadline.
The NCA argues that connecting SIM cards to the Ghana Card is essential to protecting the telecommunications ecosystem and combatting SIM fraud.
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