Malawi has re-instated the SIM card registration process. This was announced by Nicholas Dausi, Malawi's Minister of Information and Communications Technology in the Southern Afrikan country's parliament when he explained that authorities had had decided to lift the suspension on the registration of SIM cards and generic numbers.
In February 2018, the government of Malawi decided to suspend the mandatory SIM card registration process which those in the Southern Afrikan country had to conclude by the end of March 2018 or face penalties or cancellation of services. At the time, authorities cited "state spying" and "long queues" as the two main reasons why they suspended the SIM card registration process.
According to Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), the registration of SIM cards will assist authorities in the country with crime prevention and fraudulent cases that are on the rise. The logic is that knowing the identity behind every SIM card used in Malawi will enable security enforcement agencies to trace criminals.
The public, however, had raised concerns that the SIM card registration process was just a ploy by Malawi's government to spy on citizens. A claim Dausi has said has been addressed after government held consultations with various stakeholders who are now satisfied with the process.
Dausi further added that MACRA has complied with the extension of the deadline which would be announced in due course to the public as the first deadline was to be the end of March 2018. He also emphasized that the SIM card registration process was a legal process which needs to be implemented following the introduction of Malawi's Communications Act No. 34 of 2016.
As far as long queues are concerned, Dausi didn't expect any changes on that front as he said he expected "law abiding citizens" to continue queuing to register their SIM cards before the soon to be announced deadline, or risk having their mobile numbers and all mobile services terminated.