According to the Minister of Communication and Digitalization, the Ministry would not extend the 31st July 2022 deadline for the nationwide SIM Card Registration Exercise and all unregistered SIM Cards would be deactivated by 31st July 2022.
It’s imperative for the Ministry to take into consideration that about 800,000 subscribers to the Ghana Card, which is the basic requirement for the registration, have not received their cards. And more mobile phone users in the country have not been able to acquire their Ghana Card.
Even more, some Ghanaians have errors on their Ghana Cards or have misplaced the Ghana Cards waiting for a replacement.
I honestly think that, the Minister and her Ministry should review this entrenched decision since such a decision would definitely undermine the revenue mobilization efforts of the government through the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Four (4) key government revenue policies would be badly affected if SIM Cards Registration Exercise is not extended namely the:
2. Communications Service Tax (CST)
If by 31st July 2022, majority of mobile phone users have not been able to register their SIM Cards and the Ministry of Communication and Digitalization go head with the deactivation of all the unregistered SIM cards, the bodies that would be negatively affected most are the :
1. Government of Ghana
2. Telecommunications companies.
The GRA on behalf of Government would struggle to generate revenue from the E-levy, CST, VAT and GETFUND/NHIL.
The revenue expectations of the Telecos too would significantly reduce thereby reducing their corporate taxes to the State.
We are not in normal times and this is a time the Government of Ghana needs a lot of domestic revenue generation to augment the IMF support. This is not the convenient time for the show of political administrative power. The Government need support of the Citizens to succeed under the prevailing global economic crisis.
Certainly, not extending the SIM Cards Registration Exercise would:
1. create widespread apathy for the Government because majority of Ghanaians will not be able to meet the 31st July 2022 deadline.
This will further create room for the NDC and some CSOs to make noise and incite the Citizens against the Government.
2. also affect the revenue policies of the Government especially E-levy and CST.
The Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and National Youth Authority (NYA) largely depend on the Communication Service Tax for survival.
Moving forward, the Ministry of Communication and Digitalization in collaboration with the Telecommunications Companies should intensify the campaign for the SIM Cards Registration and educate Ghanaians, especially the illiterates on the importance of SIM Cards Registration Exercise which is aimed at eradicating fraudsters, scammers, and criminals from the Ghanaian society.
Measures should be put in place by Government to ensure that all new SIM Cards are registered before use and all old existing SIM Cards get registered at least even 90-95%.
The 31st July 2022 deadline is absolutely needless and counterproductive.