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East Africa

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On Monday, the Tanzania government is expected to switch off about 10 million unregistered sim cards in order to lessen rising crimes in the country.Officials say the move is aimed at  reducing cybercrime, which jumped by 82% in Tanzania in 2017.

The biometric registration will link SIM cards to identification cards or foreign passports and fingerprints. Nowadays, phones are like banks, said Fredrick Ntobi, of Tanzania’s Communication Regulatory Authority.

“Sometimes, you might mistakenly send money to various places. Because the details of the one who received the money will be known, it will be easier for your money to be returned.”

Expectedly, long queues have formed in several centres across the country as people try to beat Monday’s deadline to register their Sim cards.

Officials say only 20 million Sim cards have been registered, leaving more than half of active cards at risk of being switched off.

Many Tanzanians have criticised the government for not allowing enough time to complete the registration .But Tanzania Communication and Regulatory Authority has blamed people for waiting until the last minute to complete the registration.

The government said the registration was intended to deal with cybercrime and fraud but critics fear it would allow the authorities to eavesdrop on citizens, particularly during elections.