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Tinubu’s steady progress in power sector

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Tinubu appeals to governors’ for unity of purpose to ‘make Nigeria greater’

Despite cynical analysis of the power sector by critics, Bello Aminu argues that the president is making steady progress in the complex industry.

To be sure, Nigeria’s power supply crisis is a multi-decade, multi-faceted challenge, defying even some of the country’s most respected public figures who were picked in the past to oversee the sector.

A deputy minister who once headed the ministry said in 2012 that Nigerians must resolve to exorcise the ‘evil spirit’ preventing the country from making headway in its efforts to banish darkness from the government. Ultimately, she left the country in more darkness than she met it.

Although it’s still too early for an in-depth assessment of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in terms of the progress made in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), one thing is certain: The president is not taking his pledge to ‘light up’ the country lightly.

So, on the 1st anniversary of the Tinubu administration, it would not be out of place to appraise the initial steps taken to ensure that the electricity supply gap is bridged as soon as possible.

The president clearly understands the critical role that a reliable power supply plays in any modern economy. That was why in his 2024 New Year message to Nigerians, he expressed his intention to fast-track electricity projects and private investments into the power sector.

“My administration recognises that no meaningful economic transformation can happen without a steady electricity supply in 2024,” the president said. Since then, the president has moved to back his words up with the necessary action.

Cognisant of how much the unnecessary over-centralisation of the power sector has negatively impacted the growth of the industry for decades, days after he took over the reins of power, the president immediately moved to decentralise and liberalise the sector.

The reforms in the sector took him first to the amendment of the Electricity Act, to break the federal government’s monopoly in electricity generation, transmission and distribution nationwide.

With the amendment, that law now allows the subnational governments to take charge of the entire value chain of power supply management in their jurisdictions, marking a major shift from the past where leaving the power sector in the exclusive legislative list only hobbled the development of the industry.

Several states, including Enugu, Ondo, and Ekiti, have since started setting up their electricity regulatory bodies in preparation for the new conducive environment being created by the current administration.

Secondly, President Tinubu, with a full grasp of the negative impact that legacy and current debts owed the operators in the power supply value chain were having on the system, especially Generation Companies (GenCoS) as well as Gas Companies (GasCos), has since moved to offset the huge outstanding.

Penultimate week, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, to the relief of operators, announced that the president had approved that N130 billion be paid from the gas stabilisation fund to the gas suppliers.

Earlier, the Coordinating Director of the ‘Decade of Gas,’ Ed Ubong, had also made it public at an event in Abuja that over $120 million had been paid as part of the dollar-denominated debts owed gas suppliers.

This is expected to go a long way in providing some level of liquidity to the suppliers and therefore by extension put the power supply to the grid in a better stead.

Thirdly, although still meagre when compared with Nigeria’s massive population of over 200 million persons, there has been a substantial ramping up of electricity supply throughout the value chain, meaning that for the first time in three years, over 5,000mw of power was achieved on May 3, 2024.

The minister of power, Adelabu, has further assured that in the coming months, this will be increased to 6,000mw from an average of about 4,000mw, describing even the current increase as still unacceptable.

“Beyond paying the legacy debts, we’re moving around 4,000mw, 4,500mw and it is no longer acceptable. So what we are looking at is to have an agreement to ramp up to a minimum of 6,000mw within the next three to six months.

“I believe we still have the infrastructure to generate between 6,000mw and 6,500mw. In terms of the generating companies, I have no doubt in my mind that the existing capacity can give us 6,500mw once there is stability in the supply of gas,” the minister assured.

In addition, in November last year, the president met with the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz on the sidelines of the G20 Compact with Africa Economic Conference in Berlin, Germany in his abiding effort to ensure that the power supply challenge is resolved.

The crux of that discussion was on the current Siemens Power project under the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) and with the support of the German government, which seeks to clean up the entire power supply value chain and remove extant bottlenecks.

In all, the scheme seeks to first deliver 7,000mw of electricity to the national grid in phase one, ramp it up to 11,000mw in phase two of the programme and then expand the country’s electricity supply to 25,000mw in the third phase.

Before Tinubu became president, timelines had been missed already. But to underscore his seriousness with going forward with the Siemens deal, the president followed up the first meeting with the German Chancellor with another one in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December, leading to the signing of agreements to accelerate the scheme.

In all of these, what has become obvious is that on the power supply issue, President Tinubu is not resting on his oars, not since he became Nigeria’s leader. To underscore its renewed commitment to the project, Siemens Energy has also successfully delivered 10 units of power transformers and 10 units of mobile substations on the back of that deal in the last few months.

On the important issue of metering, the federal government is looking to achieve an injection of 3.5 million meters into the power sector, comprising 1.5 million meters through the World Bank Distribution Support Recovery Programme and 2 million meters through the Presidential Metering Initiative.

This is very important because with more metering, the constant illiquidity in the power sector is expected to reduce considerably and with more funds available, additional investment will be made by the operators and ultimately lead to the achievement of economies of scale. With economies of scale will come a likely taming of tariffs, especially like the recent one for premium electricity customers.

Concerning the perennial challenges surrounding the metering of military formations in the country, the federal government recently announced the release of N12.7 billion to provide meters in those facilities across the country. Already, 50,000 prepaid electricity meters have been procured and are to be installed in military establishments across the country.

It appears unfair to judge a nascent government on a sector as problematic as the power sector in its first 365 days in office, but even if we were to go that route, it’s not all gloom and doom. The Tinubu government appears to know exactly what to do and how to do it in the power sector.

-Aminu, an energy economist, writes from Kano

Source: The News

 

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Opinion

President Tinubu: The Nigeria’s goal-poacher 

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FULL TEXT: President Bola Tinubu’s national broadcast on 2024 Democracy Day

By James Odunsi, Texas, USA

I want to be beat my chest to say that history will remember the current Nigeria President Bola Tinubu over his tough decisions in ensuring a future of brightness and hope for the youths in the country.

It’s very obvious that Nigerians are hungry and angry with this administration of Tinubu but should we have said Tinubu should have run the government the way others have been patching the economy? In actual fact, what would Tinubu stand to gain in all these policies implementation? Will these policies have advantage on the personal life of the president?

For the record, Tinubu is one of the richest person in Africa either politically or business wise, all these policies can’t in anyway added to his wealth. His level of intelligence made him the president of the most popular black nation in the world. During his election, nobody could have believed that Tinubu would be president until the result was announced. You can call it rigging or fraud, but the official results were announced by the authorities.

All these policies are his election campaign, the same way other political Jagannath making the same promises, but the unfortunate thing is that most Nigerians don’t understand the agenda behind Renewed Hope. Tinubu is not ready to let Nigerians suffer, NO.

For real, there are economy sabotage from different angle, this inflation is 40% fake. These are handwork of political desperados who believed becoming president is a must, and some tiny hole in a circle. Grounding Nigeria economy is a no go area to hit Tinubu, but unfortunately the man has remain a democrat, but as time goes on when he will be pushed to the wall, there would be nemesis.

Finally, this is to remind all the wailers that the City Boy is the ruling guy in Aso Villa, and Nigeria economy is coming back fully and sustainable.

 

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The indefatigable FIRS Chairman, Zacch Adedeji

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When it comes to taxes, there's one name on everyone's lips: Zacch Adedeji. As the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service

By Arabinrin Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello

When it comes to taxes, there’s one name on everyone’s lips: Zacch Adedeji. As the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Adedeji isn’t just following the rules – he’s rewriting them. His leadership styles? It’s all about shaking things up and making taxation better for everyone.

His tireless efforts have brought much-needed sanity and restructuring to the system by making it more efficient and adequate. Adedeji’s commitment to reforming the tax system has resulted in streamlined processes, enhanced transparency, and improved taxpayer compliance. His relentless drive to create a more efficient and user-friendly tax environment has been important in transforming FIRS into a modern, responsive institution that serves the best interests of all Nigerians.

A key aspect of Adedeji’s leadership is his adherence to due process. He understands the importance of following rules and regulations meticulously for optimal system functioning. Adedeji ensures that all FIRS operations comply with legal and regulatory standards, promoting integrity and accountability within the organization. By upholding due process, he has built confidence among taxpayers and stakeholders, reinforcing FIRS’s legitimacy and credibility. This commitment to procedural correctness has been crucial in establishing a robust and trustworthy tax administration system.

In an era where public sector spending often comes under scrutiny, Adedeji stands out for his prudent management of resources. He has made personal sacrifices to cut unnecessary spending, opting to use his personal vehicles and live in his own house rather than utilizing government resources. This approach not only demonstrates his dedication to reducing waste but also sets a powerful example for others in public service. By curtailing excessive spending, Adedeji ensures that FIRS’s resources are directed towards initiatives that enhance efficiency and service delivery, ultimately benefiting the nation’s economy.

Recognizing the importance of teamwork in revenue generation, Adedeji has built a skilled and diverse team at FIRS. Each team member and his support staff brings valuable expertise, contributing to the organization’s success. Under Adedeji’s leadership, a culture of excellence has flourished, with every team member playing their role in meeting FIRS’s revenue targets.

Recently, Adedeji, who also serves as the President of CATA, attended its London event. Here, tax officials shared best practices. His role shows dedication to innovating Nigeria’s tax system and integrating global best practices into FIRS. These changes promise a more transparent tax system, potentially boosting public services and economic growth.

The Tax Boss’s firm belief in fairness, accountability, and patriotism shapes his leadership at FIRS. With a strong sense of duty and commitment to Nigeria’s welfare, he aligns his approach with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda for economic revival and prosperity. By prioritizing ethical standards and fostering trust among taxpayers, Adedeji ensures FIRS operates with integrity, contributing significantly to Nigeria’s financial health and stability.

Arabinrin Aderonke is an Award-Winning investigative journalist. 2016 finalist, CNN African Journalist Award. She currently serves as Technical Assistant, Broadcast Media, at the Federal Inland Revenue Service. She writes from Abuja.

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Opinion

Interpreting FIRS new slogan, simplifying tax, maximizing revenue

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has embarked on a restructuring effort to better serve taxpayers and enhance revenue collection.

By Arabinrin Aderonke

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has embarked on a restructuring effort to better serve taxpayers and enhance revenue collection. This initiative includes the introduction of a new slogan, “Simplifying Tax, Maximizing Revenue,” which replaces the previous slogan, “It Pays To Pay Your Tax.” This change shows FIRS’ commitment to a more taxpayer-friendly approach.

The decision to change the slogan stems from a recognition of the need to better align FIRS’s message with its mission and goals. By moving away from the previous slogan, “It Pays To Pay Your Tax,” FIRS aims to communicate a more proactive and customer-centric approach to tax administration. This change underscores the agency’s commitment to simplifying tax procedures and making them more accessible to all Nigerians.

With this new direction, expectations from FIRS are high. Taxpayers can anticipate a more user-friendly and transparent tax system that reduces complexities and enhances their overall experience.

During the unveiling of the new slogan, Executive Chairman, Dr. Zacch Adedeji made it clear that improving customer service is a top priority. He introduced the Customer Service Optimization Committee, a new team dedicated to ensuring that FIRS provides Nigerians with efficient and transparent support. Adedeji’s leadership is focused on building trust and accountability, key factors that help encourage voluntary compliance with tax obligations. His commitment to making FIRS more responsive and helpful shows his understanding that the agency needs to be more than just a tax collector; it needs to be a service-oriented organization that truly cares about the experience of taxpayers.

The benefits of these initiatives are manifold. Simplified tax processes mean that taxpayers will spend less time and effort on compliance, leading to increased satisfaction. For FIRS, a more efficient and transparent system is expected to result in higher voluntary compliance rates, thereby maximizing revenue collection.

Looking at all the recent changes within FIRS, it’s clear that Zacch Adedeji’s leadership has been instrumental in shaping a more taxpayer-friendly environment. His moves demonstrate a genuine commitment to making things easier for all Nigerians. It’s not just about paperwork and procedures; it’s about making sure that every Nigerian can navigate the tax system with ease and confidence.

Adedeji’s dedication to improving the citizen’s tax experience is commendable. By prioritizing transparency and efficiency, he’s not only transforming FIRS from within but also making a positive impact on our everyday lives. With these changes, we can expect smoother processes, clearer communication, and, ultimately, a stronger financial footing for our nation.

Arabinrin Aderonke ANIPR is an Award-Winning investigative journalist, 2016 Finalist CNN African Journalist Award. She currently serves as Technical Assistant, Broadcast Media at Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). She writes from Abuja.

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Opinion

Senators should live on minimum wage to understand workers’ struggle – Ex-NLC treasurer

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Senators should live on minimum wage to understand workers’ struggle

A former Treasurer of the Nigeria Labour Congress and current chairman of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Bamgbose Betty, has said that in a bid for the senate to understand the plights of the labour unions, they should put their salaries on the minimum wage

In an interview on Monday during the ongoing national strike declared by the NLC and Trade Union Congress, Betty expressed her dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the minimum wage negotiations.

“Why will the federal government…they said Round Table, the NLC, the TUC, they have been deliberating on this round table for so long? They feel that they should be putting 200 today, 300 tomorrow, 500 the next day for a minimum wage. It is enough. Enough is enough,” Betty spoke in front of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital laboratory, Lagos State.

She further said that the Senate and other high-ranking officials should have their salaries pegged to the proposed minimum wage, asserting, “For them to know where it pains us, let the senate, whatever, put their salary on this minimum wage too and let’s see what will happen. I mean, let it go round.”

The former NLC Treasurer lamented the struggles faced by workers regarding the economic realities in the country.

“When you get paid within two to three days, the salary is nowhere to be found…the suffering is too much,” Betty said.

However, despite the strike, Betty acknowledged that the essential duties of the medical and health workers were still functioning, stating, “But on here, as my chairman has said, we have our essential duties on the ground, we have that on the ground, but all others to go home please.”

On Friday, organised labour announced that they will be commencing a nationwide indefinite strike due to the refusal of the Federal Government to increase the proposed minimum wage from N60,000.

According to the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, the strike will begin at midnight on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

In a joint statement delivered by Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Festus Osifo, they expressed their serious concerns and disappointment over the Federal Government’s failure to finalise and pass a new National Minimum Wage Act into law.

They also demanded that the government reverse the increase in electricity tariff to N65/kWh.

Recall that both unions had given an ultimatum of May 31, 2024, for negotiations on the new minimum wage.

However, talks between organised labour and the Federal Government broke down on Tuesday after both parties presented their offers.

 

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Opinion

‘Painful but necessary’ — analysts speak on Tinubu’s first year reforms

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A recent investigation has revealed that President Bola Tinubu’s minister, Geoffrey Nnaji, possesses a fraudulent national service

Economic analysts have expressed concerns about the impact of multiple reforms implemented by President Bola Tinubu‘s administration, emphasising the need for effective measures to mitigate the effects on citizens and businesses.

On May 29, 2023, Tinubu was sworn in as the president — on the same day, he announced the end of petrol subsidy.

A few days later, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the unification of all segments of the foreign exchange (FX) market, collapsing them into the investors and exporters (I&E) window.

Also, on April 3, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approved an increase in electricity tariff for customers under the Band A classification.

The commission said customers under the category, who receive 20 hours of electricity supply daily, would begin to pay N225 per kilowatt (kW) from April 3 — up from N66.

While these reforms aim to drive economic progress, they have resulted in significant economic hardships for businesses and households.

‘INEVITABLE REFORMS’ | ’40/100 PERFORMANCE’

Muda Yusuf, the chief executive officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), said the reforms introduced by the current administration are inevitable for progress.

“The point of stress is that much of the first year was devoted to corrective reforms which were in many instances also painful,” Yusuf said.

“But the reforms were inevitable because you can’t build something on nothing. Fixing the economic fundamentals was crucial for economic sustainability.

“However, I believe the administration could do better with regards to the speed of delivering mitigating measures to ease the pains of the reforms.”

Yusuf further said the administration has made significant progress in restoring some sanity to the oil-producing areas — even though it is a work in progress.

“The truth is that reforms take time to be conceptualised and executed. It could take even longer for the results to be felt. But my view is that the reforms were necessary to pull back the economy from the brink,” he said.

“Much has been achieved with fiscal consolidation. Government revenue had improved significantly following the reforms. There were also tax reform initiatives.”

Charles Abuede, the research lead at Cowry Asset Management, said despite these reforms there has been “little or no improvement in the security architecture, rising food and commodity prices, amongst others”.

“The present administration has enacted various reforms since assumption of office till today and for the record, we have local and international businesses as well as consumers feeling the brunt,” Abuede said.

“In one year, we have seen the exchange take a different turn and the effects are what is obtainable today.”

Also, Ayokunle Olubunmi, head of financial institutions ratings at Agusto & Co, said there were some high points and low points to the reforms.

According to Olubunmi, the reforms could be seen as the administration laying the foundation – even though it might be hard for Nigerians.

“I know there are a lot of downsides. The exchange rate has been volatile, market devaluation we saw last year. If you check insecurity, it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Right now we can see that of food inflation. Farmers are finding it difficult to go to the farms and inflation is also increasing,” he said

“The power sector too, the situation seems to be worse. We get to hear almost every time that our system collapses.

“Another issue has to do with the following various policy reversals. Announcing something today and changing it tomorrow. Examples are cybersecurity, the return of the UAE visas and Emirates Airlines. It got to a point people had to start fact checking messages from the president.

“I think it is too early to properly judge them. There are some good parts of what they’ve done and then some down paths toward what they’ve not done properly.”

Olubunmi and Abuede rated the performance of Tinubu’s administration 40 out of 100.

‘FG SHOULD FOCUS ON SECURITY, AGRICULTURE, SERVICES SECTOR’

Speaking further on sectoral growth, Olubunmi said he believes the sector that seems to be getting a lot of attention is the financial sector.

“Specifically, I think this is everyone’s critique of the government. Everyone agrees that the CBN seems to be the shining star and where the administration seems to be focused on,” he said.

“More so, I don’t think communication is good enough. What they are doing is that they are not communicating well.”

Olubunmi also said agriculture and security lacked attention, especially to slow down food inflation.

On his part, Abuede said all sectors of the economy have been functioning just like we saw from the last administration.

However, he believes the services sector should be targeted for more economic growth.

“A look into the latest GDP report for Q1 2024, we can see the continued growth in the services sector which still has more room for growth if enough investment can be channelled there,” Abuede said.

“So, there’s really no sector which saw the most benefits as we can literally not get hands on FDI inflow into the sectors. Instead, decline.”

‘CONSISTENCY MOVING FORWARD TO GROW ECONOMY’

On what areas to focus on moving forward for economic growth and achieving the $1 trillion economy goal, Abuede said the government’s focus should be encompassing and holistic to ensure all-round sustainable growth.

“Areas needing major attention include security and defence, agriculture, increase in crude oil production, trade and investment, mining and power,” he said.

Abuede added that achieving a $1 trillion economy is “ambitious”.

“I think we need to experience a high growth rate annually to achieve it. Nigeria at the moment is growing at an average pace of two percent,” he said.

“But to achieve sustainable growth, Nigeria needs to grow at a minimum average of 7-10 percent annually for 10 years or to grow at 5-6 percent and exhibit strong momentum to achieve a near figure.

“Remember, Nigeria currently sits third on the largest economies in Africa behind Egypt and South Africa.”

On his part, Yusuf said he believes the administration could do better with regard to the speed of delivering mitigating measures to ease the pains of the reforms.

“There is also a need to address the volatility in the foreign exchange market. Frequent swings in the exchange rate are very detrimental to business because of the uncertainty that comes with it,” he said.

Yusuf added CBN should also address the frequent changes in exchange rates for import duty computation.

“This rate should actually be fixed at N1000/$ or even less to subdue current inflationary pressures,” he said.

Corroborating their points, Olubunmi said the power sector, insecurity and communication should be focused on.

“If the government can get those three things right because I believe those three things are like foundations that need to be fixed before we can grow the economy.”

In addition, he said achieving a $1 trillion economy projection is not feasible in the first tenure of Tinubu’s administration unless something changes drastically.

Source: The Nation

 

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Opinion

SIM boxing, and the unboxing of a crime syndicate

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced its commitment to support the cultural re-orientation of Nigerians by

Boxes have a multitude of uses, and the word “box”, lends itself to diverse contexts. For “Ajala Travelers,” the box is a necessity for keeping goods for their endless journeys. In literature, idiomatically, it can be said that “one has been boxed into a corner;” another might say to deal with a conundrum: “think outside the box;” then there is the “Pandora’s box” that no one wants opened.

To “box one’s ear’s” refers to a hit on the head, especially around one’s ears. For those who celebrate Christmas, “Boxing Day,” which is the 26th of December, the second day of Christmastide is not to be joked with: A day to unbox gifts. So much for the box.

Another type of boxes exists in the telecommunications world: The SIM Box. Have you ever received an international call but saw a local phone number ring in? That is SIM Boxing in action. Let me explain.

SIM boxing happens when a person uses a special equipment, what is called a SIM Box containing tens to hundreds of SIM Cards—from 32, to 96, to 512 and more SIMs —to terminate international calls by bringing in the international call into the SIM Box using internet connections and regenerating the calls to the called party from one of the hundred SIMs in the box. This way, the called party will see the local number of the SIM from the SIM Box, and not the original international number calling.

With SIM Boxes, the syndicate charges international call carriers lower rates than what regular Nigerian telecommunications operators would charge, as they do not have to pay the full cost of maintaining and operating a phone network. Basically, they are bypassing the normal route for international phone call termination to terminate international calls cheaply and making windfall profits off it.

Take for instance, a telecommunications operator in Nigeria would ordinarily charge international carriers 10cents per minute for terminating an international call in Nigeria. However, by routing the call through a SIM Boxing syndicate, the international telecommunications carrier only pays a fraction of the charge to the syndicate, say 5cents per minute and does not have to pay the full 10cents per minute charge.

The SIM Boxer will terminate this call to the called subscriber at a rate of, say N15 per minute using one of the SIM cards in their SIM Box. The SIM Boxer thus makes a killing from the differential between the rate charged to the international carrier and the rate paid to telecommunications operators whose SIM they utilise in their SIM Boxes, at the expense of our national security and income of mobile network operators and quality of our service to consumers.

Asides the revenue loss that local mobile network operators suffer courtesy the activities of these syndicates, networks face congestion around areas where the illegal call routings via SIM Boxing occurs. With the huge traffic from the boxes, callers around the area see more dropped calls, poor call quality, and slower data speeds.

The introduction of the linking of National Identity Numbers (NIN) to SIMs is one way the Federal Government has worked to tackle this criminal enterprise. With every SIM in the country being linked to an NIN, an identity is tied to the owner of each line, and regulators now have visibility of ownership. That is not all. There is also the “Max-4 Rule” where a subscriber is not allowed to have more than four lines per network operator linked to his NIN. With this rule in place, coupled with the NIN-SIM Linkage, every telephone subscriber in Nigeria would not just be accurately identifiable but limited to having only four telephone lines per subscriber.

To enforce this rule, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the 29th of March 2024 announced the deadline for Mobile Network Operators to bar all subscribers who had five lines and above, and whose NIN failed the verification test of biometrics matching.

Over the last few weeks, sources within the NCC have confirmed cases where a single NIN was linked to over 100,000 lines. Some NINs had well over 10,000 SIMS linked to them, others over a thousand, others had hundreds. Many have questioned the reports and asked, what would any single reasonable person be doing with these number of lines? Justifiable questions, because no sane person—who is not running a business—should own more than five SIM cards.

Given the ‘Max 4 Rule’ in place and the NIN-SIM Linkage Policy, SIM Boxers have been boxed into a corner. The applications they use require tens to thousands of SIM Cards, and the imperative to stay anonymous. If these policies are well and fully implemented, this is the death knell for SIM Boxing merchants.

But the regulator, NCC needs to be fast and ready for the battle ahead. SIM Boxing is a billion-dollar criminal enterprise. They are not going to go down without a fight. It is like taking a bone being chewed from the mouth of a bulldog.

Already, the battle seems to have kicked off. A lawyer, Barrister Olukoya Ogunbeje has recently taken the Federal Government, NCC and Mobile Network Operators to court, claiming that the barring of SIMs not linked to NINs goes against his fundamental human rights, and has cost him the loss of business opportunities. Anyone who has Nigeria’s interest at heart ordinarily supports this policy. It then does not add up seeing a so-called activist lawyer take up such a matter that is clearly against the public interest—unless this is the Haka cry of SIM Boxers.

A most interesting observation with his case is that it is not even a class action, but individually driven. It begs the question then, who is funding Barr. Olukoya Ogungbeje? What is his interest in fighting this policy that puts paid to the business of a criminal enterprise? Is he funded by interests in the SIM Boxing world? Time would tell. But in the meantime, NCC must go head on without fear or intimation and clean the Augean stable of SIM ownership in Nigeria.

Suleiman Bala Bakori is a researcher, and writes from the FCT.

(First Published on Premium Times)

 

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