Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday extended the deadline for biometric registration of phone users’ SIM cards for 20 more days beyond the earlier deadline of Dec. 31 set by the east African nation’s communication watchdog.
Speaking shortly after he had biometrically registered his phone SIM card in his native town of Chato in the northwest region of Geita, Magufuli said the extension was intended to give chance to people who failed to register on various reasons.
A statement by the Directorate of Presidential Communication at State House said the president insisted that there will not be further extension after Jan. 20, 2020.
According to the statement, Magufuli said those who will fail to register during the extension period should not blame the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) for locking out phone users.
On Dec. 13, TCRA said in a statement that at least 21.7 million phone users were yet to be registered biometrically as the countdown to the Dec. 31 deadline loomed.
The statement said only 42 percent of SIM cards in operation have been registered.
In May this year, the TCRA directed that owners of all SIM cards to biometrically register their lines by the end of the year.
It said the move was aimed at getting rid of dishonest telephone line users, controlling cybercrime and protecting Tanzanians against those abusing the telecom sector.
The registration of SIM cards is mandatory under the Electronics and Postal Communications Act of 2010, and, under this law it is an offense to sell or distribute an unregistered SIM card, to use an unregistered SIM card, to fail to record sale of a SIM card and to provide false information or statement during registration.