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Nigeria: Telcos look to capitalise on NIN SIM integration

As Nigeria extends the ongoing exercise to integrate National Identification Numbers (NINs) with users’ SIMs by another eight weeks, major mobile operators are looking to enrol more users and capitalise on the process.

The extension, which will end by April 6 according to the National Communication Commission (NCC), is to ensure that more Nigerians and legal residents of the country get registered for the NIN and link up with their SIMs.

The regulatory body says the new date came during a meeting of the Ministerial Taskforce on NIN-SIM registration on 1 February chaired by the Communications and Digital Economy Minister, Dr Isa Pantami.

Despite two previous extensions (to 30 December and to 9 February ) in the process, stakeholders in the meeting said that the 56.18 million NINs reportedly collected so far - while an improvement from the 47.8 million collected as at 18 January - is significant, but could be improved.

There is no certainty of any further deadline extensions and this could explain the telcos’ swift collaborative gesture.

The telcos’ collaboration with government agencies in the NIN-SIM integration process serves a mutual purpose. While it contributes to efforts to create a secure and sustainable communications industry in Nigeria on the one hand, it serves the telcos’ revenue generation interest on the other.

With telcos mandated by the government to block subscribers whose SIM registration records have not been updated with their NINs as at deadline, a huge chunk of the 198,961,361 registered active GSM lines (NCC figure as at July 2020) would be left out.

Glo, MTN and Airtel have now been licensed by the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to participate in the intensified effort to enrol SIM users who are yet to register for a NIN to facilitate their integration before the new deadline elapses.

The telcos have reportedly opened additional registration centres across the country to complement the 1, 060 that were made operational by NIMC.

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