The federal government yesterday extended the deadline for telecommunications subscribers to register their phone lines with national identification number (NIN from the December 30, 2020 to February 9, 2021.
The government decision followed the overcrowding at the offices of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in some states amid calls for Nigerians to extend the deadline in view of the resurgence of Covid-19 and the Christmas holidays.
According to the government, the National Task Force on National Identification Number (NIN) and SIM Registration met yesterday chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) comprising major stakeholders in the sector including chairman and executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) respectively; director-general, NIMC.
Others at the meeting include: director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); executive commissioners, technical services and stakeholder management both of NCC; chairman, Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and chief executive officers, of MTN, Airtel, Ntel, Glo, Smile, and 9Moble took the new decision.
A statement jointly signed by the EVC of NCC, professor Umar Danbatta and DG of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Aziz stated that federal government endorsed a three weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from 30th December, 2020 to 19th January, 2021.
Also, endorsed was a six weeks extension for subscribers without NIN from 30th December, 2020 to 9th February, 2021. “NIMC has provided strategies to enable citizens attend the registration in full compliance with Covid-19 protocols – particularly the use of facemasks which remains mandatory and maintenance of social distancing.
“The President appreciates Nigerians for their patience and commitment to update their Identities; The Federal Government also thanks all stakeholders for their compliance with the directives.
“Mr. President has also commended the efforts of the Task Force and urges all stakeholders to take advantage of the extension to link their SIM card with their NIN. USSD and verification charges remain suspended during these extensions,” the statement ended.
In his reaction, Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said the extension of the deadline by the federal government was a welcome development, urging that the necessary infrastructure be put in place to ensure seamless registration of Nigerians who don’t have the National Identity Number (NIN).
“In our previous intervention, we stated that two weeks deadline was not enough to register every Nigerian wit mobile line at NIMC end. The difficulty of the two weeks deadline stemmed from the fact that there is a second wave of Covid-19, the approaching yuletide holidays which will last for at least two weeks and thirdly, from our understanding that the NIMC infrastructure to handle the NIN is still being expected from abroad.
“Our appeal is that people should not leave it till the last week of the newly extended deadline or else what we witnessed in the last few days will still recur. Majority of Nigerians with mobile lines don’t have NIN, they should make effort to register to reduce crowding in February while those with NIN should avail themselves of the short codes from the telecom operators to virtually pair their mobile lines with the NIN,” the ATCON president added.
Also, national chairman, Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, said ALTON was part of the meeting where the decision was taken. “WE would issue a follow up statement tomorrow,” he added.
MTN Targets $6 Billion Valuation for Mobile Money Business
MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita said the company is targeting a valuation of between $5 billion and $6 billion for its mobile money arm, as it prepared the sale or listing of a minority stake in the unit.
Mupita outlined basic details about the future of its mobile financial services arm, which is set to be separated as part of a strategy to help it cash-in on various assets unveiled in March.
The company, which operates across several of Africa’s largest markets, has long prized its mobile money offer with the segment often cited as one of the major growth areas in the business.
Mupita said MTN planned to structurally separate the business within the next year. Funds raised from its money and infrastructure assets will go towards further cuts in MTN’s debt pile, adding to disposals of a number of parts of the business deemed non-core in the last two years.
MTN is also in the process of selling-up in the Middle East as it plans to focus its efforts on Africa.
Mobile Money: YDFS Expands Cardless Cash Withdrawal Service to 44 Financial Institutions
Mobile money service provider, Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS) has announced the expansion of its MoMo Agent cardless cash withdrawal service to over 40 banks and other financial institutions nationwide, providing seamless financial solutions to more people.
Initially exclusive to Access Bank, the service has now been extended to include First Bank of Nigeria, Zenith Bank, GTBank Plc, United Bank of Africa and other tier-one commercial banks.
Using the service, customers can visit MoMo Agents nationwide to access funds in their bank accounts without requiring an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or ATM card. The service utilises a secure gateway that protects customers against fraudulent transactions and requires transaction validation using their bank PIN.
Commenting on the expansion, Chief Executive Officer, Y’ello Digital Financial Services, YDFS, Usoro Usoro said, “We all must play our part in the Federal Government’s financial inclusion drive, which we know is essential for every Nigerian. With this, more MoMo users can walk up to the nearest MoMo Agent to withdraw cash from their bank account without visiting a bank or an ATM.”
Launched in 2019, MoMo Agent expanded its financial services in 2020 for underbanked and unbanked communities to include bill payment, cash deposit and withdrawal, data and airtime purchase and bulk disbursement services. With an agent base of over 150,000 spread across over 700 local governments, customers on the MTN network can dial *223# to locate the nearest MoMo Agent.
Why it matters
With the cardless cash withdrawal service, MoMo Agents’ sustained innovation aligns with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) financial inclusion target of 95% by 2024. This target was reviewed in 2019 as part of a five-year strategy to sustain inclusive economic growth.
To achieve this, Nigeria must attain an inclusive financial sector that has closed the gender gap. As at 2018, Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA) revealed that only 59.1% of women compared with 67.5% of men were financially included representing a gender gap of 8.4%. The nature of mobile money makes it easier for women in rural areas to access financial services, which in turn stimulates economic growth.
The cardless cash withdrawal is a good initiative to deepen this inclusion. With the service, residents in rural areas can perform financial transactions without worrying about or using an ATM card. It is another major collaborative step between the mobile money service provider, YDFS and commercial banks in Nigeria.
List of Financial Institutions
- First Bank of Nigeria
- Zenith Bank
- GTBank Plc
- Access Bank
- Access (Diamond) Bank
- Ecobank PLC
- Standard Chattered Bank
- Fidelity Bank
- United Bank for Africa (UBA)
- Unity Bank
- Union Bank
- Sterling Bank
- First City Monument Bank (FCMB)
- Skye Bank
- Wema Bank
- Enterprise Bank
- Keystone Bank
- Jaiz Bank
- Stanbic IBTC Bank
- Suntrust Bank
- Heritage Bank
- Citi Bank
- Coronation Merchant Bank
- Access Money
- Eco Mobile
- Fidelity Mobile
- GT Mobile
- Zenith Mobile
- Money Box
- Safetrust Mortgage Bank
- Covenant Microfinance Bank
- NPF Microfinance Bank
- Fortis Microfinance
- Omoluabi Mortgage Bank
- Sterling Mobile
- Page MFB
- Stanbic Mobile Money
- Fortis Mobile
- FBN Mobile
GSMA, Spain Agree International Travel Authorisation for MWC21 Barcelona
The GSMA and Ministry of the Interior of the Government of Spain have announced details of an agreement to allow all MWC21 Barcelona registrants – including exhibitors, attendees, sponsors, and partners – to enter Spain to attend the in-person event.
Whilst there is a current denial of entry to Spain for any national from a country outside the EU, exceptions apply to specific groups of people, including ‘highly qualified workers’. The decision from the Spanish government now includes MWC21 Barcelona registrants in this category.
John Hoffman, CEO GSMA Ltd, said: “The health and safety of everyone involved in MWC Barcelona, both in Spain and beyond, continues to be our utmost priority as we navigate rapidly shifting circumstances. This decision is a resounding vote of confidence in the careful planning undertaken to date, and our strong partnership with the Host City Parties. We will continue to work closely with our partners to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience.”
The GSMA will share details of MWC21 Barcelona registrants with Spanish authorities to facilitate entry into the country. This shift allows entry to those registrants who are currently denied entry, including those from China and the USA, to enter Spain for the purposes of attending and doing business at MWC21.
The GSMA will adapt its registration process, to accommodate this international business travel policy. All individuals participating in the event from outside of the European Union and Schengen Area must follow this process to facilitate entry into Spain:
- Complete your online registration for the event using the MWC21 Barcelona Registration System
- All individuals seeking entry to Spain must be fully registered for MWC21 Barcelona
- After completing registration, the GSMA will provide relevant information to the Spanish government for visa and border control purposes
- On completion of registration, you will receive a MWC Barcelona 2021 Attendance Confirmation. Please have this to hand when contacting your consulate or visa issuing authority and with you when you travel to attend the event
- The registration system will be updated in the coming weeks to reflect the updated process. Anyone already registered will be contacted and advised when to complete this additional information
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