By Peter Egwuatu
Ten days after the Federal Government approved the resumption of sale and activation of new SIM, none of the telecommunications operators has obeyed the directive.
Vanguard’s investigation yesterday revealed that the telecommunications operators have not been communicated officially with such directive and such could not be able to issue new SIM or reactivate old ones.
When Vanguard visited some outlets of Glo, MTN and 9 Mobile in Lagos, officials who preferred anonymity explained that they have not be given the go ahead by their management from the head office to commence new SIM registration or reactivation.
“We cannot just start new registration of SIM without our management giving us the directive. So we are waiting for them. Whenever they give us the order we will comply” Officials of the operators said.
Meanwhile, reliable sources from the telecommunications operators when contacted said “Yes, the operators are yet to implement the directive from the Federal Government because they are yet to get official memo from the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy or the Nigeria Communication Commission, NCC. If you go round all the operators none of them has started issuing new SIM simply because they are waiting official memo from the government.
“When there was order to stop new SIM registration the operators were all communicated with a memo, now that the announcement had been made regarding recommencement of new SIM registration, why has government not send memo to that effect? We can’t rely on Newspapers announcements because the same government would turn round and say did we communicate to you. So operators are very mindful of whatever they do to prevent being fined by the authorities concerned. Our industry is highly regulated. When we get memo from the authorities we would start the new SIM registration. We are ready as that will also boost our revenue”.
Meanwhile, it will be recalled that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Communications proved the resumption of sale and activation of mew SIMs with effect from 19th April, 2021.
The Federal Government reversed its initial ban and approved the activation of new SIM registration with the Mandatory NIN in line with the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Ministry of Communications on Thursday, citing the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003, Section 23(a), which specifies the role of the Minister to include the formulation, determination and monitoring of the general policy for the communications sector.
The statement said: An earlier policy was approved on the 4th of February 2020, while the Revised Policy was developed in early March 2021. The final amendments to the revised Policy based on the directives of Mr President to make the use of NIN mandatory for all SIM registration were completed yesterday, 14th of April, 2021.
The Policy includes Guidelines on New SIM Acquisition and Activation, SIM Replacement, New SIM Activation for Corporates and Internet-of-Things/Machine-to-Machine (IoT/M2M), amongst others.
The possession of a National Identity number will be a prerequisite for each of these categories.
For Corporate registration, institutions will be required to appoint a Telecoms Master (at the minimum of an Executive Management level) to provide the operational Primary NIN representation. The Telecoms Master will also be responsible to ensure that the users provide their NINs to serve as a Secondary NIN.