By Angela Nkwocha
The Minister of Communications, Dr. Ibrahim Pantami, has applauded the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), for its swift response which saw to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) reduction of over 9.2 million invalidly-registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards in the country by 73.61 per cent within one week.
Pantami gave the commendation during the presentation and oath-taking of four new members of Board of Commissioners of the NCC, in Abuja.
He said: “Last week, I made an official statement that we had directed the NCC to ensure operators address the issue of over 9.2 million invalidly-registered SIM cards on their networks. By today, report from NCC indicated that 6.75 million of the SIM cards have been rectified and this is highly commendable,” he stated.
While noting that the number of cleared SIM cards represents an appreciable 73.61 per cent reduction in the 9.2 million figure, leaving only 2.4 million yet to be cleared, the Minister urged the NCC to ensure the remaining numbers “are cleaned up by September 25, 2019, so that every SIM card that is involved in any crime-related issue can easily be identified.”
While tasking them on effective utilisation of ICT to boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next coming years, he called to mind effective utilisation of telecoms and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to support the President to improve security, economy, reduce poverty as well as fight corruption.
“By the second quarter of this year, ICT had contributed 13.86 per cent to the country’s GDP and this is encouraging. Generally, non-oil’s GDP contribution to economy was 91 per cent. The NCC has played a significant role in this direction and I will enjoin the NCC Board members and management to always challenge yourselves to exceed current or previous successes.”
In his remarks, NCC Board Chairman, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, thanked the Minister for his readiness to support the Commission in his various efforts at leveraging the ICT/telecoms to create economic prosperity for the country. He revealed that the Commission is still expecting two new board members already appointed by the President to join the Commission once the National Assembly resumes from recess to have the full complement of 9-member Board of NCC.
The new board members include Engr. Ubale Maska, as Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, Prof. Millionaire Abowei; Salman Abdul-Azeez and Aliyu Abubakar.