The Malawi government has made an abrupt U-turn on the SIM card registration exercise, Malawi24 has learnt.
Minister of Information and Civic Education Nicholas Dausi made the announcement in National Assembly this morning.
According to Dausi, mobile phone service providers should first conduct civic education campaigns on the SIM card registration across the country, especially in rural areas, before the exercise could resume.
The government directive comes a day after Dausi made a ministerial statement on the registration exercise in Parliament.
Following the statement, Members of Parliament expressed their concerns on the exercise with some legislators fearing that the registration of SIM cards could be invading people’s right to privacy.
When announcing the suspension today, Dausi acknowledged that there have been suspicions from the public over the SIM card registration exercise.
He said the suspension will only be lifted after satisfactory civic education has been conducted.
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) last month told mobile phone subscribers to register their SIM cards saying the Communications Act of 2016 gives the regulatory body the powers to enforce mandatory registration of SIM cards and generic numbers.