In a bid to boost local patronage and consumption in Nigeria, the Federal Government has banned the importation of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards into the country.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami who spoke in Lagos on Monday, August 1, 2022 at the Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE), organized by the Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sector of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Pantami who urged stakeholders and citizens to support government efforts to boost local patronage and consumption, said Africa’s biggest country should not be importing things that could be produced within.
“Let me make it clear that the Federal Government will no longer tolerate the importation of sim cards. We are now producing them in Nigeria. Our aim is to increase indigenous content in the ICT sector so that by 2025, we will be self-reliant by at least 80 percent”, If we do this, history will be kind to all of us”, the professor of Cybersecurity noted.
The Minister has however kicked against renewed attempts by the Federal Government to add a five per cent excise duty to telecommunication services.
While urging the government to consider taxing other sectors of the economy that are not contributing to national development, Pantami maintained that the telecom sector already contributes a lot to the Nigerian economy, and adding more taxes could negatively impact its growth.
When implemented, this will bring the total tax telecom consumers pay for telecom services to 12.5 per cent.
It will be recalled that In June, Pantami informed the public that the Buhari administration had established a SIM card manufacturing plant in Lagos, a facility built with the capacity to produce 200 million cards annually and also export them to other African countries.