Akinwale Goodluck, the MTN Nigeria Corporate Services executive, declared that the logistical implication of SIM registration may have been underestimated, adding that six months was not enough to register subscribers considering the huge population of Nigeria.
”If you are going to do SIM registration, a time frame of six months is impossible for existing subscribers. For the size and population of Nigeria, we are looking at a minimum of 12 to 18 months for any meaningful registration exercise to happen, to prevent panic within the subscriber community, within the operator community and within the lending and financial institutions which support our business”, he said.
According to Goodluck, a breakdown of the logistics entails buying computers with scanners, fingerprint reader, cameras installed at several locations adding that there is need to provide for transfer and retrieval of the data.
He said: ‘’If one looks at it from an operators perspective, from the day the NCC issues that directive, it would mean that first of all, I have to do a board paper to get approval from my board for the financial resources. I would then have to ask for a tender, look at the equipment, order the equipment. Some of this equipment for the quantity we want is not off the shelf. So manufacturers have to start manufacturing. We must import, recruit train people and then put people across the country to start to use the machines and all of this cannot be done in six months’’.
Goodluck also stated that the SIM registration process should be conducted by the operators. He urged the Commission to forgo the idea of getting third party contractors to do the registration.
“The NCC is thinking of getting third party contractors to do the registration. I don’t know any other jurisdiction where it’s been done like that. I think it is best left in the hands of the operators. They (the subscribers) are our customers. We owe a responsibility to them for the issues around confidentiality. At the end of the day there will be a database”.
by Ikechukwu Osodo