Tanzanian President John Magufuli, on Friday extended the deadline for biometric registration of phone users’ SIM cards for 20 more days.
This takes the new deadline beyond Dec. 31 which was the earlier time limit set by the East African country’s communication watchdog.
Speaking shortly after he had biometrically registered his phone SIM card in his native town of Chato in the North-West region of Geita, Magufuli said that the extension was intended to give chance to people who failed to register for various reasons.
According to a statement by the Directorate of Presidential Communication at the State House, the president insisted that there would not be further extension after the new deadline of Jan. 20, 2020.
Magufuli warned phone users who failed to register during the extension period not to blame the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) for locking them out.
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.
TCRA said that only 42 per cent of SIM cards in operation had been registered.
According to the regulatory body, in May it directed that owners of all SIM cards should biometrically register their lines by the end of the year 2019.
It said that the move was aimed at getting rid of dishonest telephone line users, controlling cybercrime, and protecting Tanzanians from persons 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.
The law also prohibits the use of an unregistered SIM card, the failure to record sale of a SIM card, and the provision of false information or statement during registration.(Xinhua/NAN)