The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced a ban on the importation of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Cards into the country.
The announcement was made by the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami at the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE) in Oniru, Lagos, on Monday, August 1st, 2022.
He said, “Let me make it clear that the federal government will no longer tolerate the importation of SIM cards. We are now producing them in Nigeria.”
What you need to know:
Last year, in February, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, had signed the Executive order on local content patronage to promote indigenous content in the Nigerian Telecommunications sector.
In August 2021, Pantami had announced in an interview with the Press that the Federal Government was partnering with the private sectors to facilitate the production of SIM cards, cell phones and other ICT facilities within the country.
He said, “When this administration came on board, even SIM cards were imported to Nigeria, but as it is today, we have established a manufacturing plant in Lagos. (Back then) more than 98% of the software used by the sector was imported, as it is today, we reduced it significantly by more than 40%.”
“Federal government provided an enabling environment for the private sector, and as it is today we have the capacity to produce SIM cards not only for our consumption but for the entire African nations. We have the capacity to produce a minimum of 200 million SIM cards annually,” he added.
What this means for Nigeria:
During the aforementioned interview with the press, the Minister had emphasized on the fact that the localization of SIM card and other ICT facilities production in the country would bring an end to the brain drain in the country. He also said that it would help strengthen the value of local currency and place Nigeria among the league of producers rather than the consumers the country has long been associated with.
Now, about a year later, the Minister is saying that the aim of the ban is to “increase indigenous content in the ICT sector so that by 2025, we will be self-reliant by at least 80%.”