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The Nigerian government has banned the importation of subscriber identity module (SIM) cards. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami announced this Monday in Lagos at the maiden edition of Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE).

He said as Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, SIM cards should have long become a domestically manufactured product.

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With more than 200 million phone users and by implication SIM cards running on the networks, Nigeria should not be importing SIM cards, the minister told stakeholders at the NTICE organized by the Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

His words: “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.”

He urged stakeholders and citizens to support government efforts to boost local patronage and consumption.

“If we do this, history will be kind to all of us” said the professor of Cybersecurity.

The minister had in June announced the establishment of a SIM card manufacturing plant in Lagos built with private sector support with capacity to produce 200 million cards annually for local consumption and export.

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