The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, has said that Nigeria’s database for National Identification increased by 12 million in the last eight months. The Minister said this became possible through the efforts of his Ministry, which made the NIN mandatory for all phone users in the country.
According to him, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), which was hitherto under the Presidency, had managed to capture 42 million Nigerians in 14 years but that changed when it was moved to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in September 2020. The new enrolments brought the total number of Nigerians with NIN to 54 million as of April 30, 2021, according to the government.
“NIMC Act has been in existence since 2007, providing for the mandatory use of National Identity Number for accessing several government services. The enrolments since then till 2020 stood at just about 42 million or an average of about 3.2 million records annually. The supervision of NIMC was moved to our Ministry in September 2020 and between then and April 2021, we have recorded over 12 million enrolments,” the Minister stated during the launch of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector; and the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration in Abuja. Pantami said the two policies launched by President Muhammadu Buhari would go a long way in supporting the programmes of the Federal Government, especially in the areas of economic development and enhancing security.
“The National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector seeks to ensure that Nigerians develop the capacity to play a leading role in our telecommunications industry. “It addresses key areas such as manufacturing, services, and software for the telecom sector, capacity building, research and development, digital innovation, and entrepreneurship, among others.
The overall objectives of the Policy including the following: to create a framework for supporting indigenous telecom businesses to become worldclass service providers; to ensure compliance with existing regulatory guidelines for indigenous content; to highlight and promote indigenous capacities in the telecommunications sector; to foster collaboration between global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) engaged in the manufacturing of telecommunications equipment and indigenous players; to ensure strategic partnerships with relevant regulatory agencies to create joint efforts to promote indigenous content; to enable the indigenous telecom industry to contribute significantly towards the overall development of the telecom industry, and to encourage and incentivise the participation of indigenous telecom institutions in relevant standards development organisations,” he said.
He added that the Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration is an updated version of the Policy that was released in February 2020. The Policy, he said, would provide a regulatory framework for the use of NIN for SIM card registration.
“It will enable us to effectively address the issue of unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards, as such cards compromise national security and negatively affect the efficiency of Nigerian security agencies,” he said.
The Minister said the Policy provides detailed templates for the different scenarios in the SIM acquisition and activation process.
According to him, some of the scenarios covered include SIM swaps, Corporate and Internet of Things/Machine-to-Machine activations. He added that the templates would reduce ambiguity in the implementation processes and will make for a better customer experience