The Federal Government has banned the use of imported SIMs by companies offering telephony and data services in Nigeria under sweeping drive to promote local ICT content across key sectors of the economy.
[blockquote right=”pull-right”]The new guideline also stipulates at least 60% of all Value Added Services of any ICT company in Nigeria should come from an indigenous company within the first two years and at least and 80% within three years of the coming into effect of these new rules. [/blockquote]
This is one of the key highlights of the newly-introduced guidelines by the Office for Nigeria Content in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), a unit of the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA), set up to foster growth in the Nigerian technology ecosystem.
With the coming into effect of the new directive, mobile phone companies, which accounts for over active 127 million active phone lines have been given an 18-month to comply with the government order to “use only locally-manufactured SIM cards for the provision of data and telephony services.”
The Nigerian telecoms industry accounts for a huge customer base with active lines totalling 127,097,196 in Q1 2014 and mobile GSM, mobile CDMA and fixed lines accounting for 98.26%, 1.6% and 0.14% respectively, according to official market information by the telecoms market watchdog, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Inye Kemabonta, the Acting National Co-Ordinator of ONC, who is also the Director of Standards and Regulation at (NITDA), unveiled the document to key industry stakeholders in Lagos, where he explained that the guidelines were developed to “enable the local ICT industry to contribute meaningfully towards the achievement of national development targets.”
Kemabonta explained that the Office for Nigerian Content (ONC) is a semi-autonomous, development focused special purpose vehicle of NITDA set up by Omobola Johnson, the Minister of Communications Technology “for purpose of implementing the Guidelines for a Nigerian Content Development Program and of championing the growth and development of Nigerian content in ICT.”
He told attendees at the event held at Ideas Hub in Yaba, Lagos that, “the ONC is charged with the mandate of “supercharging” key ICT economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to Nigerian firms in the ICT industry.”
Under the implementation plan, the ONC’s Guidelines cut across various sector of the economy ranging from ICT companies, ICT hardware manufacturers, MDAs, among several other key players in the local ICT space.