NCC orders MTN, Glo, others to block SIMs without NIN

  • FBN Holdings overtakes GTCO, emerges most capitalized bank

The Nigerian Communications Commission has reiterated its directive to telecom operators to bar telephone subscribers not linked to their National Identification Numbers on or before February 28, 2024.

The Executive Vice Chairman, National Communication Commission, Aminu Maida, spoke at the NCC’s Special Day during the ongoing 45th Kaduna International Trade Fair on Wednesday.

Maida, who was represented by NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Mouka, insisted that as a matter of critical national security, telecom consumers must link their NIN to their SIM.

He reaffirmed that the February 28 deadline given to telecom operators to bar subscribers who failed to link their NIN to SIM, stands.

“To this end, the National Communication Commission has directed all telecommunication operators to bar phone lines of subscribers whose lines are not linked to their NINs on or before February 28, 2024,” he added.

This, the executive vice chairman said, was apt as the theme resonated with the principles and objectives of the commission in promoting local content development in the telecom industry.

Maida also said the NCC was committed to protecting consumers’ rights while ensuring their satisfaction and noting that the commission has created a universally acceptable environment to access “affordable and equitable service and supports the nation’s economic growth.”

“As a regulator of the telecommunications sector in the country, the Commission carries out its functions to ensure service availability, affordability, and sustainability for all categories of consumers, who are leveraging ICT/Telecoms to drive personal and business activities,” he said.

For instance, he continued that the Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution and Enquiries (TELCARE) Desk at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, was set up to further provide an additional platform to make enquiries on customer issues, receive and facilitate the resolution of telecom consumer complaints.

He explained that by “working together, we can create a more vibrant telecommunications industry that contributes significantly to the economic recovery and growth.”

According to him, as of 2023, the telecoms industry’s contribution to the nation’s GDP stood at 13.5% (Source – Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report November 2023-A publication of the National Bureau of Statistics.

“Conversely, as we promote economic growth through the development of local content, we must also address the challenges faced by consumers and NCC is committed to protecting their rights while ensuring their satisfaction.

The NCC boss therefore urged telecom firms to prioritize customer satisfaction and uphold the highest standards of service delivery, noting that the commission has implemented measures to safeguard the interests of consumers and businesses alike.

One such measure, he said, was the NCC’s directive on May 17, 2023, that all licensed Mobile Network Operators commence implementation of approved Harmonised Short Codes for providing services to Nigerian telecom consumers.

“The new initiative is enabling consumers using the over 224 million active mobile telephone lines in Nigeria to use the same codes to access services across all networks,” he added.

Meanwhile, the NCC boss disclosed that as of 2023, the telecoms industry’s contribution to the nation’s GDP stood at 13.5 per cent, according to the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report November 2023 – A publication of the National Bureau of Statistics.

FBN Holdings overtakes GTCO, emerges most capitalized bank

Meanwhile, with the market value of FBN Holdings, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited shooting up to N1.22 trillion on the Nigerian Exchange as at the close of business, last Friday, the bank became the most capitalized bank in Nigeria, overtaking Guaranty Trust Bank which held the top position hitherto.

Reports from the Nigerian Exchange Limited indicate that the market value of FBN Holdings rose by N107.68 billion from N1.11 trillion that day.

This, the Exchange disclosed, followed a 9.68 percent appreciation in the company’s share price, as it closed at N34, up from N31.

It would be recalled that apart from First Bank, two other banks in Nigeria are in the trillion naira class; and they are Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), the parent company of GTBank, which was previously the most capitalized company in the banking industry, and Zenith Bank.

According to the NGX records, after trading hours, last Friday, GTCO’s market valuation was N1.16 trillion, rising slightly from N1.14 trillion, while Zenith Bank did not record an increase in its market capitalization as its valuation remained stable at N1.10 trillion.

Significantly, the increase recorded by FBN Holdings in its market capitalization is coming less than one month after it appointed Femi Otedola, a billionaire Nigerian investor, as the new chairman of its board of directors on January 23, 2024.