From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to fully embrace ongoing SIM registration, noting that if the country gets linkage of SIMs to National Identification Numbers (NIN) right, it would improve security and strengthen the economy.
He stated this when he launched the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in Nigerian Telecoms Sector and Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Cards registration, in Abuja, yesterday.
The president said proper identification of all Nigerians and legal residents in the country and ability to conveniently access a data base will provide impetus for more effective planning and security oversight.
“The NIN will cover one of the weaknesses in our security structure. We will be able to easily identify and know the personality of Nigerians. We will identify people easily, including the crooks,” he said.
He said the launch of the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration will support efforts to enhance security and develop the economy.
“The National Identification Number is the foundational digital ID for the country; both Nigerian citizens and legal residents are expected to obtain the NIN. It will provide access to government services and will give government useful insights that will enable us to utilize scarce resources in a more efficient way,” he added.
The President recalled that the first National SIM Policy was launched in February 202o, and the revised policies were in full alignment with the objectives of the administration in the areas of economic development, security and anti-corruption.
“The Digital Economy sector has made significant progress and recorded a number of unprecedented achievements since we expanded the mandate of the Ministry of Communications to include the digital economy mandate.
“The Information and Communications Technology sector was the fastest growing sector in both the fourth quarter of 2020 and the entire year 2020, based on the Report by the National Bureau of Statistics.
“The sector’s 14.70 per cent double digit growth rate played a principal role in supporting our country to exit the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth rate of the sector exceeded four times the next fastest growing sector of Q4 2020, ICT Sector which had a growth rate of 3.42 per cent. This is truly commendable,” he added.
President Buhari explained that the digital economy sector provided online options for activities that were hitherto restricted to offline channels, while minimizing the disruption to activities of both public and private sectors, and reducing cost of meetings.
Accordingly, he said the National Policy for Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector was in line with the administration’s commitment towards ensuring that Nigerians become active participants in the different sectors of the economy, including the telecommunications sector.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami said 54 million Nigerians have been captured in the NIN process, adding, “within six months over 12 million enrolled.”