The N20 USSD fee imposed by Nigerian telecommunications and National Identity Management Commission on subscribers for National Identification Number retrieval requests has been canceled.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami directed the Nigerian Communications Commission and the National Identity Management Commission to remove the fee.
Recently, NCC directed telecommunication service providers to block SIM cards not registered with NIN, giving a two weeks deadline for SIM holders in Nigeria to respond.
Authorities had listed 173 centres and 30 state government institutions approved for NIN enrolment across country.
Part of issues arising from the directive was that subscribers who had enrolled for NIN in the past might not remember their identification numbers, a situation telecos and government’s registration agency, NIN sought to exploit by requiring citizens to pay a fee for the retrieval.
According to a statement on Friday by the spokesperson for the minister, Uwa Suleiman, the government ordered telcos to stop the deduction for NIN retrieval.
“The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, Orders Cancellation Of NIN Retrieval Charge Across All Networks’.
“The Minister’s directive which takes immediate effect, is an intervention aimed at making the process easier and affordable.
“In a letter conveying the implementation of the directive, the Executive Vice Chairman NCC and the Director-General of NIMC informed Dr Pantami that the relevant authorities had met with, and negotiated a waiver with the Mobile Network Operators in that regard.
“By this waiver, all Nigerians, subscribers and applicants can access the service using the *346# code for their NIN retrieval at no charge for the duration of the NIN/SIM Card integration exercise”, the statement read.