Federal Government Lifts Embargo on SIM Registration in Nigeria

After placing a pan on SIM registration and sale of new SIM cards in December, the Federal Government has given a go-ahead to telecommunication companies in Nigeria to resume sales and registration of new SIM cards.

It would be recalled; Nigeria’s Communications Commission (NCC) placed an indefinite suspension on SIM registration in December 2020 after it ordered all telcos to have its subscribers link their National Identity Numbers (NIN) to their phone numbers.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy said it had “led the development of a Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration.”

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 the 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 ensuring that the users provide their NINs to serve as a Secondary NIN.”

The implementation of the Policy will commence on Monday, 19th of April 2021. The issuance of New SIMs and other suspended activities will resume on the same date, as long as verification is done and the guidelines are fully adhered to.”

The news comes as a welcome development as many Nigerian businesses and individuals were affected due to the inability to purchase new SIM cards.

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