Nigeria now produces all its SIM cards locally

Nigeria now produces 100% of its SIM cards locally, two years after the Government placed a ban on imports

Nigeria now produces all its SIM cards locally
SIM cards.

The Nigerian telecom sector has reached a significant milestone, as it now locally produces all SIM cards for its telecom sector, moving from its reliance on the importation of SIM cards.

This milestone follows Nigeria's ban on SIM card imports implemented in August of 2022 which aimed at promoting local participation and patronage in the sector.

The development was revealed by Babagana Digima, Head of New Media and Information Security at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a recent media training session held in Lagos.

According to Digima, the office of the NCC led by the Nigeria Office for Development in the Indigenous Telecommunications Sector (NODITS), has been pivotal in boosting Indigenous participation and promoting local content.

In 2022, the then Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, informed the public that the administration had established a SIM card manufacturing plant in Lagos and a ban on the importation of SIM cards was announced in August of 2022 by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The SIM card manufacturing plant was said to produce at least 200 million cards annually.
“We aim to increase Indigenous content in the ICT sector so that by 2025, we will be self-reliant by at least 80 per cent”, the minister noted.

Digima, the former head of the NODITS, highlighted the commission’s ongoing initiatives to support local manufacturing in the telecommunications industry. He noted that NODITS has provided grants and incentives to various companies, including sponsoring the production of Corrugated Ordinal Duct
and encouraging local manufacturing of telecom towers and fibre cables.

“Before NODITS’ intervention, nearly all SIM cards in Nigeria were imported,” Digima stated. “We set an ambitious goal to reverse this trend, and now 100% of SIM cards used in Nigeria are manufactured locally.”

"We are currently sponsoring the manufacture of Corrugated Ordinal Duct, which will be the first of its kind in Africa. We also encourage the local production of telecom towers and fibre cables. Coleman Cables, a local manufacturer, has surpassed the only other producer in Egypt in terms of capacity and is continuing to expand," said Digima.

This achievement comes barely 2 years after the import ban was instated, underscoring the government's commitment to boosting domestic manufacturing capabilities.

The initiative to manufacture SIM cards locally aims to balance the import-export ratio in the economy as Nigeria's economy is heavily dependent on imports. A new initiative to produce SIM cards locally is a promising step to address this imbalance. This initiative benefits the economy by reducing reliance on imports, creating jobs, and potentially fostering future exports of Nigerian-made technology.

Abraham Oshadami, the Executive Commissioner for Technical Services at NCC represented the NCC Vice-Chairman, Aminu Maida at the NCC event held in Lagos. He emphasised the importance of improving communication between the commission and the public, highlighting the crucial role of the media executives from print to online platforms and broadcasts in the sector.

“This initiative will help shape the industry landscape and ensure consumers are well-informed about developments within the sector,” he added.

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