Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George, has attacked Communications Minister Ursula Owusu Ekuful over punitive measures implemented against mobile phone users yet to register their SIM cards with their Ghana cards.
In a statement released via Facebook, Sam George warned that the first principle of public policy should be as a service to the people and not a punishment.
His reaction comes following a notice from the Communications Minister that unregistered sim cards would suffer some punitive measures starting Monday, September 5th 2022 and would be permanently barred from accessing any services on September 30th.
“I informed the media during my most recent meeting that the SIM registration exercise would not be extended past September 30. After evaluation at the end of August, it has been determined that starting the disciplinary steps outlined in the NCA press release is prudent,” Ursula said.
“Additionally, any SIM that has not yet been completely registered will be unable to use voice and Internet services. Afterward, using unregistered SIMs will be more expensive.
“At a subsequent press conference in September, the full scope of the sanctions will be revealed. If you suffer that fate as a result of your own inaction, kindly do not blame your service provider. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.“ she said.
Sam George reacted by calling out the Minister over her punitive measures and wondering what sanctions she deserves over her own failure to properly roll out the SIM registration app.
Read Sam George’s statement below…
I have read your post and I am surprised both you and the National Communications Authority Ghana in your respective releases have been silent on the self-service registration app you promised in your press conference. After a 24-day delay in release, the app is still unavailable on iOs store and has limited functionality on Google Playstore. What sanctions should we apply to you for your ‘inaction’?
The first principle of public policy should be as a service not as a punishment. Your penchant for punitive measures is what has seen a decline in the Telecommunications sector leading to the collapse of 2 MNOs and a weakening of the other 2 players. When you realise that you actually serve the people and not the reverse, a lot more attention may be given to the service experience as against a punishment regime.
You state that a deprivation of service would be due to inaction on the part of citizens. I would want to ask you if the following categories of Ghanaians also fall under your ‘inaction’ tag;
1. Ghanaians who have registered since 2018 but have due to administrative challenges at the NIA not received their cards
2. Ghanaians who have registered, received their cards but have errors on the cards warranting new cards that are yet to be processed
3. Ghanaians who have misplaced their cards and have applied for replacement but are yet to receive their cards
4. Ghanaians who have gone to queue for registration of the Ghana Card but have been given data capture dates in October
5. Ghanaians who are currently resident outside Ghana but have active SIM cards but cannot register since they have no Ghana Cards and your app is deficient
6. Ghanaians who are unable to register for the Ghana Card due to health incapacitating but rely on their phones for critical care service Honourable Minister, have you considered the principle you so eloquently espoused recently in Koforidua as you opposed portions of the anti-LGBTQI bill at the Committee level? The principle that it is better for a hundred guilty persons to go free that one innocent person to be unjustly punished? How have your punitive measures addressed the categories of person listed above.
Yes, you may have administrative powers conferred on you as Minister but Article 296 of the Constitution defines the boundaries of the exercise of those powers. This action is to say the least outside those boundaries.
I am confident that just as I pointed out to you on your stance on Conditional Access and you refused to oblige, the Courts may, as we saw this week with their ruling against you and the NCA in favour of GIBA, be instrumental in reigning you in.
I look forward to the budget hearings later this year on behalf of the over 4 million Ghana who have still been unable to receive their Ghana Cards.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed.