Importation Ban Creates N55 billion Local SIM Card Industry

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) disclosed that a major key achievement of some of the policies initiated by it, especially as it relates to local content development, is the ban on the importation of whole-body subscriber identification module (SIM) cards.

NCC said the ban has not only eased demand for foreign exchange (FX) by the sector but has also created a local opportunity of over N55 billion for the local SIM card manufacturers in Nigeria, which in turn has created direct and indirect jobs.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed this in Lagos, yesterday, at the ongoing NTICE 2023 expo. He recalled the ban was announced at the maiden edition of the expo in 2022.

Danbatta said: “Nigeria, with its rich history of innovation, resilience, and creativity as well as our diverse culture, talents, and perspectives has birthed solutions that uniquely cater to our challenges and aspirations.”

The NCC EVC, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Ubale Maska, said the Nigerian telecoms sector is amongst the biggest contributors to the socio-economic growth of the country, as evidenced by the numerous achievements of the sector.

“It is not out of place to mention that the sector’s performance was instrumental in lifting Nigeria out of recession with a 12.45 per cent contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Q4 2020. This figure increased to 14.13 per cent as at Q1 2023.

“The Sector is also home to two of the most valuable listed companies in Nigeria with a collective market capitalization over N10.45 trillion,” Danbatta said.

The NCC EVC recalled also that the commission in 2021 and 2022, generated revenue of over $820 million from the auction and grant of 3.5GHz spectrum band licences to three operators to boost the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) services in Nigeria. He said this placed Nigeria on the global 5G map ahead of many countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

“It is also important to note that while Quality of Service and Quality of Experience in telecommunications services in Nigeria have continued to improve, tariffs have remained stable notwithstanding the increase in cost-of-service provision to the telecom operators. To sustain and further improve the quality of service and quality of experience in telecommunications services in Nigeria, we must embrace indigenous content and value creation within the telecoms value chain, otherwise, an increase in telecoms tariff will be inevitable.

“The commission is fully committed to the Federal Government’s drive to place the Nigerian Economy on a sustainable pedestal through all the necessary policies put in place.

“When we created the Nigeria Office for Development of Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) as a Special Purpose Vehicle under the commission to drive the National Policy for Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications sector in July 2021, the Office was given four areas of focus: Manufacturing, Human Capacity, Research and Development (R&D) and Software and Services development for the telecoms sector.

“Today, 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 but has also become the flagship indigenous content event for the industry,” he stated.

According to him, the commission has also incentivised the manufacturing of Corrugated Optic Duct (COD) that will be used to protect our fibre infrastructure from the incessant cuts experienced by our service providers.

Danbatta said the Commission is also equally committed to continuously supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and innovators to promote our talented young persons and ventures through angel investments, R&D support, exposure to investors and sponsorship to local and international tech events. He further stressed that the NTICE 2023 platform is a celebration of these achievements, a testament to the Nigerian spirit of ingenuity.

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