The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says the ban on the importation of whole-body SIM cards raked in over N55 billion for local manufacturers.
Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman (EVC) of NCC, disclosed this at the second edition of the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE) in Lagos, on Wednesday.
Danbatta was represented by Ubale Maska, the commission’s executive commissioner (technical service).
He expressed the commitment of the agency towards the drive of the federal government to place the economy on a sustainable pedestal through all the necessary policies put in place.
In fostering this vision, Danbatta said the commission created the Nigeria Office for Development of Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) as a special-purpose vehicle to bring it to fulfilment.
“I am happy to inform you that NTICE is one of the achievements of NCC through NODITS because it has served not only to promote pillar number five (strategic partnering) of the strategic management plan SMP 2020-2024 of the commission,” the NCC boss said.
“The commission is equally committed to continuously supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and innovators to promote our talented young persons and ventures through angel investments, research and development support, exposure to investors and sponsorship to local and international tech events.”
In addition to NCC’s feats, Danbatta said the ban on the importation of whole-body SIM cards — announced at the maiden NTICE event last year — was another significant achievement.
“This ban has not only eased the burden on our demand for foreign exchange but has also created business in excess of N55 billion for the local SIM card manufacturers in Nigeria which in turn has created direct and indirect jobs,” he added.
Danbatta said by promoting indigenous content, Nigeria can boost economic growth.
He also urged the government to grant the telecommunications industry autonomy to enable it to thrive.
‘PRICING REGIME OF INDUSTRY IS NOT SUSTAINABLE’
In his remarks, Gbenga Adebayo, chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), asked the federal government to consider granting the industry autonomy.
He said the industry’s success, especially in the most recent years, has been traced to its independence.
Adebayo said ALTON is requesting the independence of the industry regulator — the NCC.
“So, while we welcome Bosun Tijani, minister of communications, innovation and digital economy and congratulate him, we ask that a guarantee be placed on the autonomy and independence of our regulator,” the ALTON chairman said.
“Let him (the minister) stay with the issue of policy and leave NCC with regulation