Bawumia’s statement about re-registration of sim cards to stop momo fraud, while compelling is nonsensical.
(1) He talks about reliance on the National ID only, in contravention of the laws of Ghana. How about passports, voter IDs, Drivers license etc? These are all biometric identification documents allowed by our laws and some more recognized internationally like the passports and especially for the voters ID which costs us alot of money.
(2) What happens when foreigners travel into the country and have no National IDs?
(3) The solution to the momo fraud proposed by Bawumia is a clear case of being out of touch with reality. It seems overly simplistic. For any one well versed in system controls and digital footprints to assume that mere identification or re- registration is the fundamental cornerstone to solving the momo issues. This suggestion is laughable because;
(a) A significant percentage of the fraud is robbery of vendors, re-registration will not solve that.
(b) Another key problem is the collusion between the criminals and staff of the operators, this cannot be dealt with via registration.
(4) Bawumia must bear in mind that the information provided for the Ghanaian card is self provided and goes through almost no independent verification. The challenge with such systems is that dubious people will game the system from the start.
Invariably this re-registration is another cumbersome burden imposed on the citenzry, with huge cost to the telcos, without their inputs and consideration of sensible viable alternative control systems. Telcos can for instance invest these sums in advance cyber security, public sensitization and monitoring systems, including additional personnel rather than this dubious attempt to steal money for government cronies like the airport Covid testing system. It is corridor knowledge within the telecoms fraternity for instance, who among the minister and Bawumia friends this dubious deal is being cooked for…. everyone knows
Bear in mind that, no country in the world has achieved any phenomenal operational and system improvement with sim registration. Quite to the contrary it has only served other purposes in control states. When organizations such as Facebook etc were faced with similar issues, their governments did not impose unnecessary registeration systems , rather they encouraged these organizations to spend on modern monitoring systems and hire more people to curb the menace…. this achieved great success.
A simple KPI from the BoG and NCA about fraud with consequences for the telcos will achieve significantly more than an unwarranted registeration system.
But can you really blame Bawumia, his nativity, clueless and incompetence always lets him assume that national issues have very simplistic almost thoughtless points of action and solutions. This is a man who suggested that merely handing over TIN numbers will achieve success of increase revenue and stamping out tax evasion (indeed he still touts that) when the evidence suggest egregious shortfalls in national revenue. He lacks the capacity to appreciate that tax evolution in modern times relies on voluntary compliance and enforcement of existing laws (which implies the laws themselves must be practical, pragmatic and sensible). What is the point of being happy about TIN numbers to scores of people who earn no income. Regarding the current excise tax regime where organizations are required to invest in star funds to put stickers on every product, the less said the better….. suffice to say however that excise revenue has not gone up by any significant amount, and has only imposed extra cost and production rigidities on already struggling manufacturing companies.
This same Bawumia with the support of the sector minister initially touted the GVG deal as the deal breaker in raising Gargantuan revenues, have peddled falsehoods about the supposed upside of the measure and have not been able to provide sound proof of this. Anytime they are out to strict proof about the falsified upside revenue to run for cover.
In a similar fashion, he touted interoperability in the mobile money ecosystem as an all in all saviour and missed the point about supporting interoperability with refined regulations to realign market share and promote competition. Currently the excessive monopoly of one player clearly shows the failure of his rush and lack of capacity to appreciate the wider perspective