Nicholas Dausi made the announcement when Parliament resumed sitting on Tuesday morning.
He explained that the decision was arrived at following public grievances and an outcry from members of Parliament, since most of them felt there wasn’t enough time for awareness; as civic education should have started first before embarking on the process.
Responding to Dausi’s statement on “Sim card Registration and generic numbers” on Monday, legislators expressed concern on the exercise conducted by the country’s mobile operators, which they argued needed to move closer to rural subscribers by going to trading centres to allow their participation.
During his presentation, Dausi dismissed fears that the registration is a ploy by government to eavesdrop on citizens conversation, but rather stressed that the exercise is done by mobile company operators in line with global trends.
The Information Minister pointed out that government has thus suspended the process until remedial measures to all the concerns have been taken on board.
“We think that while sim card registration is extremely important, but since there is a general outcry that government has sinister plans against its citizens, then we think we must have a comprehensive public awareness on the advantages of registering sim cards,” stressed Dausi.
He further stated it is government’s expectation that network service providers would establish more centres across the country to allow increased participation of subscribers.
Dausi expressed hope that the mobile operators will improve their capacity to enable them attend to customers when registration commences.
According to him, the registration of sim cards is in line with the passing of the Communications Act of 2015, by parliamentarians in July 2016.
He explained that the law thus created the need for registration of generic numbers and sim cards from January 1 to 31 March 2018.
The exercise is among others intended to curb incidents of child trafficking, cyber crime and help law enforcers in tracking criminals.
Malawi was the only country with subscribers whose sim cards were not registered as many countries in Africa have either completed the task or in the process of registering existing subscribers.