President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) has launched two national policies in the telecommunication sector, the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content and Revised National Identity Policy for SIM cards registration.
In his speech at the launch earlier today (May 6, 2021) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, he said the policies were in full alignment with the objectives of his administration in the areas of security, economic development and anti-corruption, adding the nation’s digital economy sector has made significant progress and recorded a number of unprecedented achievements since the expansion of the mandate of the Ministry of Communications to include digital economy.
Buhari said Nigeria had dreamt of playing major role in the design and manufacture of devices in the telecom sector, especially with regard to meeting the manpower requirements and in becoming an active part of the telecommunication’s ecosystem of the country.
“The policy aims to achieve this and I have earlier directed the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to develop the structure for its implementation and forward this to the Nigerian Communications Commission to implement. We are confident that the execution of the policy will further enhance our economy and lead to the creation of jobs.
“The launch of the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration is quite timely and will support our efforts to enhance security and develop our economy. The national identification number is the foundational digital ID for the country; both Nigerian citizens and legal residents are expected to obtain the NIN. It will provide access to government services and will give government useful insights that will enable us to utilise scarce resources in a more efficient way.
“There have been many futile attempts to promote the use of digital identity in the past. Previous attempts have been unsuccessful due to a number of reasons, including sabotage. Our focused approach shows that this administration is dedicated to ensuring that we derive the benefits of a secure and robust digital identity system,” he said.
Buhari assured that his administration was fully committed to the safety of Nigerians and linking the SIM to NIN will significantly enhance security, aid in national planning and budget preparations.
In his remarks, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, appreciated the president for the continuous support to the telecom sector, including regulators and operators and ensuring that the security sector gets a boost with more information on Nigerians and legal residents.
He noted that the NIN registration had recorded a huge success with 54 million Nigerians already captured in the process, adding, “within six months over 12 million enrolled.’’
Pantami said it was now possible to have virtual ID cards that could be used in various transactions, assuring that the NIN and SIM card registration for Nigerians and legal residents would cover 99.9 per cent.
He said the buoyancy of the telecom sector had given Nigeria many leadership roles in international organisations, listing the impact on education, training, health and welfare of many, including the establishment of 600 computer centres, and a world-class sim card manufacturing company in the country.