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The Federal Government Of Nigeria Orders Telcos To Stop New SIM Registration

                                           Dr. Isa Pantami, Communications and Digital Economy Minister


On Wednesday, the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC) temporarily restricted the Mobile Network Operators from carrying out some of their basic functions. The order came from the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and was issued because the ministry needs to audit their Subscriber Registration Database. In retrospect, the sale and registration of new Subscribers Identity Module (SIM card) is momentarily disallowed.

While addressing the press in Abuja, the NCC Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde’s statement portrayed the confidence of the government’s interest in regulating the technology sector.

He said that the federal government intends to fuse its previous accomplishments of SIM card registration in September 2019 to its latest achievement which will be useful to modify tax policies.

The purpose of the audit will also reveal the actual plan of Mobile Network Operators, MNO, in conducting their business. At this point, it will be determined if the MNO has been violating or complying with the policy regulating business conduct. Hence, the regulations are administered by the Federal Ministry and the NCC.

The NCC director of affairs said that Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami (the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy) issued the order for MNO operations to temporarily stop, and he encouraged all the MNO to be in compliance with the Minister’s directives to avoid being caught up with the consequential outcome.

Adinde said “Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are to please note that non-compliance with this directive will be met with strict sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating license.”

Moreover, the ministry of technology is also interested in a previous digital identification scheme of January 2020. The minister encourages the public to comply with the National Identity Management Commission – to further access the analytical data that determines the frequency active subscribers the network operators administers.

He continued that “As the Minister has earlier directed in January 2020, all citizens are urged to immediately secure Digital Identification from the National Identity Management Commission and submit it to the Network Operators.”

Lately, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has been seen as proactive with the issues Nigerians are facing in the telecom sector. On Thursday, the administration of this office reduced the cost for mobile data purchase by fifty percent.

For instance, an average MNO sells 1GB worth of mobile data for a thousand Naira, but in November the MNO were directed to take off 50 percent from it cost price which now worth over N487.18 – this policy was initiated in November 2020.

In December 2019, the ministry insisted that the Nigerian National Broadband – a commission that will administer its agenda that sets to consistently reduce the cost of mobile data within a five-year time frame, from 2020 to 2025. President Muhammadu Buhari launched the commencement of the commission.

NCC said “With the January 2020 baseline of N1,000 per GB, the maximum projected steady decrease for the end of each year was as follows: 2020 (N925), 2021 (N850), 2022 (N775), 2023 (N700), 2024 (N545) and 2025 (N487).”

The sole objective of the commission is to successfully reduce the cost of 1GB of mobile data for N487 within the next five years.

Dr. Pantami reiterated that his administration is committed to making less promise and doing more to ensure productivity.

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