Nigeria to investigate NCC’s SIM registration process
Nigeria’s House of Representatives has initiated an investigation into the N6.1 billion SIM card registration project embarked upon by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) in 2011. The aim is to determine why the NCC requested an additional N1 billion for the project, as well as the delays in completing the process.
Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Communications, Hon. Usman Bawa said the investigation was launched because the House was not satisfied with the slow progress.
“If you ask me, the NCC has no business with the SIM card registration project. This is not the only country where such an exercise is taking place. Apart from that, the service providers have done about 80 per cent of the registration because they started well before the NCC. To me, for the regulatory body to be involved in the registration is a duplication of effort and a waste of resources and time,” he said.
Bawa is also sceptical about the extra funding that was request by the NCC to complete the registration process in 2012.
“Even the manner with which the bill for the N6.1 billion was passed during the Sixth Assembly showed that there was more to it than meets the eyes. From our investigations, from which our report was compiled, our interactions with the NCC contractors for the SIM card registration and the service providers, a lot have been exposed and this was part of the reason why we have removed the N1 billion that was budgeted for the same SIM card registration in the last budget.
I say that if the removal of the N1 billion was critical to the exercise, then the NCC would have raised dust over it. They claimed that the N1 billion was meant for software and I ask what kind of software would cost N1 billion?”
The registration project was approved by the 2011 Appropriation Act amid strong vocal opposition - many were against the huge cost involved and the duplication of efforts. The majority of mobile telecommunications companies in Nigeria were already registering the SIM cards of their subscribers.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor