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Telecom dealers raise alarm, say 2m youths jobless as govt suspends SIM registration



The Arewa Telecom Operators Agents and Simcard Dealers Association (ATOASDA) has raised the alarm that no fewer than two million Nigerian youths have now been rendered jobless by the recent suspension of sale, registration and activation of SIM Cards by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

The telecom dealers stated this while addressing journalists at a press conference in Kaduna on Monday, noting that, they were aware of the federal government’s intention to address security challenges through linkage of National Identity Number (NIN) with mobile numbers.

Speaking on behalf of the dealers, the ATOASDA president, Hassan Yakubu said that the federal government must thread carefully as all available research works on the causes of insecurity across the country had been linked primarily to youth unemployment.

According to him, the registered association under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with registration number CAC/IT/NO131761 and with Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) volume number as NCC/CAB/2019/VOL.1/011, are fully in support of the FG measures to protect the lives and properties of the citizenry.

The ATOASDA President, said the income of the telecoms business partners, staff and the agents, majority of whom are within the age bracket between 20 to 40 years in the value chain is determined by the number of activations /SIM registration carried out within the month.

Read also: Telecom workers give MTN 14-day ultimatum to address alleged unfair labour practices

“The suspension of SIM card registration may trigger another worse form of insecurity especially in zones most affected by the insecurity, in fact, the growth in the telecom sector is determined by the very sub-sector that was suspended and the much celebrated 17per cent contribution by telecom sector on the GDP was as a result of the activities of the sub-sector under suspension.

“We therefore wish to advise that, the federal government can still achieve the desired result as well as avoid creating more problems in an attempt to solve a problem if the suspension is revised immediately to avoid the danger the suspension may expose the youths.

“We suggest that, all existing SIM Cards must be paired with the NIN numbers within a stipulated time, while an average of three months should be allowed for smooth and effective pairing.

“We also suggest that, the SIM Cards sale, registrations and activations should be allowed to continue, while an average of 10 new NIN machines be deployed in every local government in the 774 local governments of the federation for a better reach.

“That no new SIM Card should be allowed to synchronise without the support of NIN number and ID card until the SIM Card and NIN number pairing is concluded,” he stated.

By Emmanuella Ibe…

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