September 13, 2022

The Minority in Parliament has cautioned the National Communications Authority (NCA) and the Ministry of Communications to refrain from the act of blocking people’s SIMs since that infringes on the right to communication.

According to the Minority, the action by the Ministry of Communication and the National Communications Authority is self-serving, adding that Ghanaians cannot be forced to suffer for administrative and institutional failures. At a press briefing on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, addressed by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, he stated that the Minority take strong exception to the ongoing blockage of SIM cards; and advised that the government should focus on ensuring easy access to the Ghana Card, which the government has made a prerequisite to registering one’s SIM.

“The frustrations in registration of SIMs with telecom companies through third-party private entities and the NIA with a different mandate can only be attributed to the repressive tendencies of this government. In the conduct of the SIM re-registration exercise, basic rights have been overlooked. Communication is a right and opportunity must be given to every citizen to procure communication services”.

“Today, digitalization and ICT are directly tied to key Fundamental Rights including the Right to privacy and communication “as no person’’ should be subjected to interference with the privacy of his communication’’. (Article 18 supra). It is the view of the minority that the NCA is acting ultra vires in curtailing the exercise and enjoyment of the Right to privacy of communication. The government is proceeding erroneously as if every Ghanaian has a Ghana card. This is simply not true, it is not the case.

The ministry and the NCA is simply ignoring the legitimate concerns of Ghanaians who are crying and saying ’we do not have the Ghana card, help us access this public goods”. Mr. Haruna Iddrisu describes as backward the decision to cut telecommunication services to subscribers. “The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) actually places premium on Emergency Telecommunication.

To completely cut telecommunication services to subscribers for no other reason than to limit usage by citizens is the lowest point in a nation’s telecommunications development. It is a backward regulatory/policy prescription to follow in any regime. Too much reliance of rules/regulations exposes a communications system as immature”. They have called on the Ministry of Communications and the National Communications Authority to desist from treating the Communications Sector as personal fiefdoms at the peril of the country’s development.

“We expect more professional and insightful approach to the management of the sector to avoid further worsening of the sector. The present level of competition leaves much to be desired. A return to the monopoly days, or any operation of pseudo-competitive environment or duopoly will be an unpardonable indictment”, Haruna emphasized.