MTN’s 2021 1st quarter results showed only 35 million subscribers on its network had linked their mobile numbers to their National Identification Number (NIN). This also means that despite the May 6 deadline, only half of MTN’s subscribers have been linked.
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Again, the business of setting deadlines with such government policy as this usually comes out badly. From a previous deadline on May 6, it has now been extended to June 30 again.
Again, for the first time since telecoms companies were founded in Nigeria, the sector recorded a slowing down after decades of driving the bulk of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
As the case appears to be, one deadline has not been enough and the entire deadline for SIM linkage has become a joke. If it has taken several years to register only 48.2 million people on the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC)’s database, how possible can it be to register over 50 million within a few weeks? How many more deadlines are we going to experience before the end of the year?
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Not only is this perpetual NIN-SIM linking deadline extension making the administration look like a joke, but it has also succeeded in throttling growth in the vibrant telecoms sector.
Sales of news SIM cards have been stopped since December 10 without any explanation that citizens can articulate. The Communications Ministry under controversial Minister, Isa Pantami, only gave a reason that the suspension was for security reasons. This shuttering of SIM card registration
One more reason to suspect foul play with the NIN-SIM linkage policy is the unexplained movement of the NIMC as a body from the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy. Dr Isa Pantami reportedly muscled his way into controlling the NIMC.
Ideally, the matter of national identity should be a ministry of interior affair. Therefore, as many Nigerians do not understand the purpose of linking their SIM cards to their national identity number, the government may need to explain the relevance of such policy for it to be continued.
Featured Image Source: The Guardian NG
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