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NICTA Called on to Extend SIM Registration Deadline

The initial failure by the state to roll out the National Identification program will likely affect the SIM card registration process in rural areas where the bulk of the population are.

This concern was raised by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

General Secretary, Father Victor Roche, says most people in rural areas do not have proper identification documents and the NID would have been a huge help to the SIM card registration process.

Millions of our rural people will be caught by surprise by the deactivation process to be effected by NICTA next Monday January 1st, 2018.

Lack of broader consultation and awareness on the SIM Card Registration and Regulation will affect thousands or millions of phone users in rural areas.

Concerns raised by the Catholic Bishops Conference comes, after Baundo Francis, a lawyer who has taken a keen interest on human rights, filed an urgent application on human rights grounds on the SIM card registration deadline, with the Waigani National Court.

Francis said citizens must not be deprived their basic human rights, which is a preamble to the PNG Constitution and the mandatory process must be relaxed.

A citizen was also concerned the SIM Card registration exercise is in violation to basic human rights especially for those living with disabilities.

But Father Victor maintains, the decision to deactivate unregistered SIM cards by January 1, 2018 was rushed and is unfair and unjust especially for the bulk of the population or subscribers in rural areas.

The extension is to allow them to register their SIM cards.

He has called on the state and regulator, NICTA to extend the SIM registration deadline.

In the meantime, NICTA has been asked to properly address the SIM card registration process and the measures and strategies in place to address this concern.

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