From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Minister of Digital Economy and Communications, Mallam Isa Pantami, has revealed that Nigeria has established a manufacturing plant in Lagos to produce SIM Cards and even sell to other Africa countries unlike previously when they were produced outside and imported into the country.
Speaking as a special guest at an event organized by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Professionals Forum in Abuja, he said that telecommunication has generated huge income into the coffers of the federal government.
He further disclosed that through federal government’s support to the private sector through provision of enabling environment, Nigeria now has the capacity to produce a minimum of 200 million SIM cards annually.
“We have developed, which has been launched recently by Mr President, the National Policy on Indigenous Contents Promotion in the telecommunication sector. This policy aimed to achieve- as Mr President would always say, “that we produce what we consume and we consume what we produce.
“It simply means we manufacture what we need in Nigeria, and we also patronize what we manufacture. In other to practicalise this statement by Mr President, we came up with a policy target that in the next two to three years, a minimum of 60-70 per cent of what we need in the telecommunication sector is produced locally. We have started doing that.
“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. Federal government provided 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. With the support of the Federal Government, private sector has been provided with enabling environment to start the production of smart phones. Today in Nigeria, we have produced smart phones.
“When we came on board, more than 98 percent of software been used by the sector was imported, as it is today, we reduced it significantly by more than 40 per cent. It is because of this we came up with this policy,” he said.
On the impart of telecommunication on the economy, Pantami said: “Furthermore, base on the reports submitted to my office by, the price of our data 1GB as at January 2020 was 1000 naira, a directive given to us by Mr President is to ensure that the price of data cut down.
“By January 2021, within a year the average price of 1GB data base on the reports submitted to my office was N487. More than 50 per cent reduction.
“In the Nigerian National Broadband Plan our target in that plan is to ensure that within the time our boss is going to spend in office, we want to ensure that we achieve a minimum of 90 per cent broadband penetration in this country base on our population, and base on our land mass, we want to achieve a minimum of 70 per cent.
“In urban cities, we want to have a minimum of 25mbp(megabytes per second) while our plan is to achieve a minimum of 10mbp in rural area.
“As at September 2019, there are 207 access gap with a population of around 50 million people will have no access to telecommunication facilities but as at January 2021, the access gap was 114, a reduction of over 90 percent and this achievement is also unprecedented.
“This is just to support our country in the area of economy development while other sectors today need broadband penetration to be operational and to be successful as well,” he said.