It’s a crime to do business in Nigeria without NIN – Pantami

Ahead of the April 6, 2021 deadline given Nigerians to link their SIM cards to the National Identification Number (NIN), Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, has said it is a criminal offence in the country to carry out business activities without first acquiring the NIN.

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Pantami, who spoke at the 6th Presidential Media briefing in Abuja on Thursday, cited section 27 of the NIMC Act of 2007 to buttress his point.

“The NIMC Act clause 27 states that you need the NIN number for opening a bank account, for insurance, land transactions, voter registration, and driver’s licence. So, it is an offence to transact any business activity without first having your NIN,” he said.

This is even as indications have emerged that the Federal Government may extend the registration period as only 51 million numbers have been authenticated so far.

Pantami said his ministry had scheduled a stakeholders’ meeting for Thursday afternoon to decide on the fate of those who are yet to process their NIN.

Insider source at the National Identity Management Commission ( NIMC) disclosed that the government has no immediate plans to disband the over 1,060 centres designated to register subscribers despite the deadline, given the large number of Nigerians who are yet to acquire the NIN as at April 1, 2021.

Pantami also put the number of SIM card subscribers linked to NIN at over 150 million, adding, however, that enrolment is 51 million as at March 31, 2021.

He did not state when the suspension of new SIM registration will be lifted.

“The ban may affect our economy, but when addressing the issue of security, the economy takes a back stage. Some of the SIM registration carried out in the past compromised the system.



CBN: Digital economy to drive growth, create jobs

CBN: Digital economy to drive growth, create jobs says Emefiele

To further expand the economic pie, Nigeria needs to build a solid digital economy, by focusing on digital infrastructure, especially internet connectivity, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on Saturday.

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Other focus areas include digital literacy and skills, digital financial services, digital platforms, and digital entrepreneurship and innovation.

Represented by Adamu Lamtek, deputy governor, Corporates Services at a seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors, held virtually in Lagos and Abuja, he said Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa with one of the largest youth populations in the world, is well-positioned to develop a strong digital economy.

Consequently, he said there is a need to focus on accelerating improvements across five fundamental pillars of a digital economy, which are digital infrastructure, digital platforms, digital financial services, digital entrepreneurship, and digital skills.

In its effort to drive change and development, the CBN has over the last decade and a half worked to build an effective and efficient payment system.

The Payment System Vision 2020 strategy document was published in 2007 and the main objective of the strategy was to promote and entrench electronic payments, as the major channel for payment and settlement by all economic agents, away from the current dominance of cash-based transactions.

The robust regulatory framework put in place by the Bank opened up the payment system to innovation with several new players across the following licensing categories – Payment Service Banks, Payment Terminal Service Providers (PTSP’s), Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSP’s), Mobile Money Operators (MMO’s), Payment Terminal Application Developers (PTSA’s), and Agent Banking.

“A combination of these payment initiatives has immensely helped to create employment opportunities and to further our efforts at building a more financially inclusive economy,” Emefiele said.

Today a small or medium-sized enterprise in Ibadan is able to leverage digital channels to sell their products and services to a wider market beyond their immediate environment.

On cryptocurrency, Emefiele said, “let me use this medium to reiterate that the CBN did not place any new restrictions on the use of cryptocurrency in Nigeria.”

According to him, the recent directive only amplified an earlier regulation on the subject of cryptocurrency. The recent directive became necessary to protect the financial system and the generality of Nigerians from the risks inherent in crypto-asset transactions, which have escalated in recent times, with consequences on financial stability and implementation of monetary policy.

However, he said policy stand does not preclude Nigerians from harnessing the benefits of the underlying technology that supports crypto transactions, which is a distributed ledger, commonly referred to as the blockchain.

There are several examples where blockchain technology has been used to facilitate and improve transparency in the settlement of trade transactions.

“Our regulatory sandbox is available for fintech companies to explore the use of blockchain technology in areas that would be beneficial to the Nigerian economy,” the CBN governor said.

Speaking on ‘leveraging the digital economy to drive growth, job creation and sustainable development-the private sector perspective, Tope Fasua, CEO, Global Analytics Consulting Limited, said Nigeria should target double-digit growth powered by digitisation.