Service Charge on SIM re-registration App is illegal — Sam George

Sam Nartey George

Samuel Nartey George, Ningo Prampram member of parliament, has requested that the administration delay collecting fees for the SIM re-registration process until Parliament has approved the decision to do so.

According to him, since Parliament has not granted its consent for the government to impose fees, any attempt to collect money from the public would be unlawful.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications and Digitalization, said on Sunday, July 31, “A new application will be made available for download within the week to enable many to self-register.” She also announced an extension of the deadline for re-registering SIM cards.

“The SIM Registration App will be available for download on both android and IOS this week barring any unforeseen circumstances,” she told journalists.

“Each registration via the app will be subject to a GH₵5 surcharge.”

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Sam George said, “This colossal catastrophic failure of the rollout of this SIM registration will be the subject of academic studies in lecture theaters across the world on how not to rollout public policy, she has failed in the rollout of it.

“Policy must be coherent, it must not be discriminatory, if the App is going to allow Ghanaians outside the country to register by virtue of their IP addresses because their IP addresses are residents outside the country, they can be in Ghana here and have an IP address outside, download the the VP and use the VP to position yourselves in any other country – Germany, France, wherever and register using your Ghanaian passport. If they won’t think, we will think for them .

“Normally, if the state is offering a service to its citizens, it must come under the Fees and Charges Act, if any fee is charged without the approval of Parliament through the Fees and Charges Act, it is illegal.

“Just before Parliament rose we did some approvals on Fees and Charges Act and this was not part of it and so whatever fees are being announced , it will be an illegality as far as Parliament is concerned.

“Ultimately, the Minister has to put on hold any fee collection, the App can run for free until Parliament approves it because Parliament’s approvals are not retrospective.

“It is either she waits and get the approval before she rolls it out or they can roll it out on a testing phase and allow people to use it and use that as stress testing and when Parliament reconvenes in October, you can then have the fees approved for them.”