NIDA: 3m card holders not registering sim cards

14Dec 2019
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
NIDA: 3m card holders not registering sim cards

THE Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) said yesterday that about three million people with National Identification Numbers (NIN) have not registered their phones with only 17 days remaining before the December 31 deadline for biometric registration of mobile telephone lines.

TCRA Director General James Kilaba

TCRA Director General James Kilaba told journalists that the said number of people owns 5,599,610 biometrically unregistered telephone lines.

Kilaba said out of the 47 plus million telephone lines in the country which are owned by 21.1 million people, 19.681 million lines owned by 7.6 million people have been biometrically registered.

“The small number of those registered is a result of lack of knowledge on how to register themselves with the National Identification Authority (NIDA) and get a national ID,” he said.

He called upon people who have been registered by NIDA and have not been given their IDs to send a text message to 15096 and write their first name, second name, date of birth, month and year.

Back in April President John Magufuli during a Mbeya region tour asked TCRA and NIDA to work on the challenges that have emerged during the exercise to ensure everyone registers.

Early this year, the government directed that SIM card holders must be registered biometrically, with biometrics increasingly being used as a “know your customer” tool for keeping fraudsters out of the customer base, particularly for telecoms.

In March last year TCRA launched a pilot project to register Sim cards using the technology in an exercise conducted in Zanzibar and Dodoma, Dar es Salaam, Coast, Singida, Tanga and Iringa regions.

Biometric registration is meant to get rid of dishonest Sim card users and registration agents who harbor malicious intentions, including committing crimes.

In September, telecom service providers decried the low turn up of phone users, saying this arises from slow issuance of national identity cards by NIDA.

The Tanzania Mobile Network Operators (TAMNOA) in collaboration with  TCRA launched a biometric registration campaign in a bid to ensure that no one is left unregistered ahead of the 31st December deadline.

Home Affairs Minister Kangi Lugola declared in the National Assembly last month that no simcard will be switched off for lack of biometric registration on the basis of a national identity card or number, saying the exercise will be a continuing process.