About 2 million Nigerian youths have been rendered jobless by the recent suspension of sale, registration and activation of SIM cards by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, it was learnt yesterday.
Arewa Telecom Operators Agents and SIMCard Dealers Association (ATOASDA) stated this while addressing reporters in Kaduna.
The telecom dealers, who claimed that they were aware of the Federal Government’s intention to address security challenges through linkage of National Identity Number (NIN) with mobile numbers and suspension of new SIM cards registration, expressed worry that rendering 2 million youths jobless might worsen the security challenges.
ATOASDA President Hassan Yakubu explained that as a registered association under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) members of the agents supported Federal Government’s measures to protect the lives and property of the citizenry.
The union leader urged the government to consider that the causes of insecurity across the country have been linked to youth unemployment.
He said the income of the telecoms business partners, workers and the agents, majority of whom are within 20 to 40 years in the value chain, is determined by the number of activations/SIM registration carried out within the month.
Yakubu said: “The suspension of SIM card registration may trigger a worse form of insecurity, especially in the 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 17 per cent contribution by Telecom sector to the gross domestic product (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 to.
“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, registration and activation 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 be synchronised without the support of NIN number and ID card until the SIM Card and NIN number pairing is concluded,” he said.
By AbdulGafar Alabelewe