The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has explained the reason behind granting of the National Identity Number (NIN) enrolment licenses to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the country.
Speaking in an address as chief host at the webinar organised by the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) in collaboration with NCC and monitored in Lagos, EVC Danbatta, said it was for the ease of citizen enrolment and linkage of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) to NIN.
The webinar with the theme “Citizens Identity Management in a Digital Economy: The Role of Telecommunications Service Providers” Danbatta disclosed that National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) licenses to MNOs paved the way for the operators to engage in direct enrolment of subscribers for NIN at their customer service centres.
“This has led to the deployment of over 1,500 NIN enrolment outlets by MNOs, with over 1 million citizens enrolled directly at MNO service centres as at date.
The NIN policy for SIM registration, Danbatta said, is perhaps the most effective driver of NIN enrolment and the development of a credible digital identity database.
“It may interest us to note that 37 per cent of NIN enrolments recorded during the 8 years since NIN enrolment commenced was accomplished by leveraging the telecoms industry. Since commencement of the NIN policy in the Telecommunications Industry, we have witnessed tremendous growth in NIN enrolment from 40 million in December 2020 to over 63 million as at August 2021 (i.e. 23 million citizens enrolled in the past 9 months),” he said.
Although NIN penetration currently stood at 29.7% of the population, Danbatta pointed out that with the deployment of the Android Enrolment solution by NIMC, “we expect rapid growth of MNO NIN enrolment centres which will translate to exponential growth in NIN enrolments. This bodes well for the actualization of a robust digital identity database and the growth of the digital economy in Nigeria.”
The EVC stressed that the target is to achieve about 65 per cent NIN penetration in the coming months in order to unlock the economic potentials of the digital economy.
“We are aware that vast resources have been deployed by MNOs to facilitate the accelerated growth of the national identity database. We must therefore commend you for your collaboration and contributions towards the milestones achieved thus far with regards to NIN enrolment and those that will be achieved going forward,” he said.
Danbatta assured that NCC will continue to guide and support the Industry by providing the necessary regulatory frameworks to ensure the growth of the digital identity and digital economy ecosystem.