News / Africa

In South Sudan, a Day of Deadlines

A mobile phone user in Juba, South Sudan checks his SIM card. Thursday, February 28, was the deadline to register SIM cards with the government. (VOA)
A mobile phone user in Juba, South Sudan checks his SIM card. Thursday, February 28, was the deadline to register SIM cards with the government. (VOA)
Manyang David MayarSimon Kasmiro
South Sudanese had until midnight Thursday to register their mobile phone SIM cards with the government, or have their service cut off, and with hours to go until the deadline, the lines to register were long.

Michael Taban travelled from his village, which he said was "very far" from the capital, to the GEMTEL registration center in Juba.

"After I got the information [that registration was mandatory], I have decided to come and register," he said, adding that there was nowhere to register in his village.

Vivacell subscriber Philip Pitia, who lives in the Juba suburb of Kuda, didn't even know he had to register.

"I just heard from you...Many people in Kuda are not aware of this registration," he said.
A mobile phone user in Juba, South Sudan removes his battery to check his SIM card, which had to be registered by February 28. (VOA)A mobile phone user in Juba, South Sudan removes his battery to check his SIM card, which had to be registered by February 28. (VOA)
x
A mobile phone user in Juba, South Sudan removes his battery to check his SIM card, which had to be registered by February 28. (VOA)
A mobile phone user in Juba, South Sudan removes his battery to check his SIM card, which had to be registered by February 28. (VOA)
The mandatory registration was announced last year, with December 31 initially set as the deadline. That was pushed back to January 31, after few South Sudanese complied with the ruling, and with just hours to go to that deadline, the cut-off for registering SIM cards was delayed again until the last day of February.

Many mobile telephone companies operating in South Sudan say they still need more time to register users' SIM cards.

"I think today we have around 50 percent of our subscribers registered," Ghadfi Mohamed, the CEO of the Gemtel Mobile Phone Company, said.

"Two days ago we had a meeting with the ministry. We highlighted all the challenges and the problems we are facing on the ground. And it is clear that we are not really ready to switch off the subscribers."

If the deadline is not extended, mobile phone service providers' revenues will shrink, said Mohamed, who also worried about the fairness of cutting off customers who have not registered.

But Beatrice Khamisa Wani, the Deputy Minister of Telecommunications, said Thursday's deadline was absolute and anyone who has not registered by midnight will wake up the following day to find they can't use their phone.

"Should they want to reconnect it, they should report to the centers or to where the headquarters of the telecom companies are, so that they are given a chance to register. Then, their SIM card will be reactivated," she said.

Pharmaceuticals deadline, too

Thursday was also the last day for suppliers and distributors of pharmaceutical drugs to register their businesses in South Sudan, and again, the consequences of missing the deadline were dire: the businesses could be shut down.

Companies that distribute pharmaceutical drugs were told at the beginning of the month that they would have to register with the Drugs and Food Control Authority, which monitors the quality of medical products in South Sudan.

South Sudan ordered drug companies to register in a bid to curb the flow of fake and out-of-date pharmaceuticals into the country. (AP)South Sudan ordered drug companies to register in a bid to curb the flow of fake and out-of-date pharmaceuticals into the country. (AP)
x
South Sudan ordered drug companies to register in a bid to curb the flow of fake and out-of-date pharmaceuticals into the country. (AP)
South Sudan ordered drug companies to register in a bid to curb the flow of fake and out-of-date pharmaceuticals into the country. (AP)
With hours to go until that deadline, less than half of the distribution companies had complied with the order and lodged their registration documents with the agency,  Mawien Atem, Secretary General of the South Sudan Drugs and Food Control Authority, said.

They still had time, though; companies that pick up registration forms on Thursday will not be shut down, Atem added.

The government decided to oblige drug distribution companies to register in a bid to curb the flow of counterfeit pharmaceutical products and drugs that have passed their expiration date into South Sudan.

The government has cited security as the main reason for getting South Sudanese to register their SIM cards.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs