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NIN-SIM policy cuts Airtel Nigeria’s revenue by N14.1b despite regional growth

By Adeyemi Adepetun
02 August 2022   |   2:45 am
The Federal Government’s directive on the linkage of citizens’ National Identity Number (NIN) to their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards has impacted the revenue base

Sim Card. Photo/Pixabay

The Federal Government’s directive on the linkage of citizens’ National Identity Number (NIN) to their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards has impacted the revenue base of telecommunications firms, Airtel.

Airtel Nigeria said it lost N14.1 billion ($34 million) revenue between April and June this year due to the failure of some of its customers to link their NIN with their SIMs.

Its parent company, Airtel Africa, disclosed this in its quarterly result for the period ended June 30, 2022. According to the company, a total of 13.6 million Airtel customers were initially barred out of which 5.3 million (39 per cent) have subsequently submitted their NIN and 2.3 million (17 per cent) have subsequently been verified and unbarred.

For emphasis, this showed that a total of 8.3 million customers of the telcos are yet to submit their NINs as of June 30 this year. This, the telco said, resulted “in a loss of approximately $34 million revenue in the quarter and a corresponding impact of 7.5 percentage points on the growth rate.”

Explaining how the NIN issue affected its revenue, Airtel said: “Following a directive issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on December 7, 2020, to all Nigerian telecoms operators, Airtel Nigeria has been working with the government to ensure that all our subscribers provide their valid National Identification Numbers (NC) to update SIM registration records. To complete the registration process, we must link the NIN information received with the SIM of the respective subscribers and share the same with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).”

MEANWHILE, in terms of regional performance, the firm’s revenue grew by 13 per cent in reported currency to $1,257 million, while constant currency terms revenue grew by 15.3 per cent.

According to the firm, total revenues, for mobile services and mobile money services combined, grew in Nigeria by 18.3 per cent, in East Africa by 14.1 per cent and in Francophone Africa by 11.7 per cent.

Revenue growth in constant currency was posted across all four reporting segments. Mobile Services revenue in Nigeria grew by 18.3 per cent, in East Africa by 11.1 per cent and in Francophone Africa by 10.6 per cent (and across the Group by 14.2 per cent, with voice revenue up by 11.3 per cent and data revenue up by 19.8 per cent). Mobile Money revenue grew by 26.5 per cent, driven by a growth of 26.9 per cent in East Africa and 25.4 per cent in Francophone Africa.

The firm’s EBITDA grew by 14.9 per cent to $614 million in reported currency, while the margin saw 48.8 per cent, an increase of 78 basis points in reported currency and 52 basis points in constant currency.

Airtel Africa’s operating profit grew by 20.6 per cent to $425 million in reported currency and profit after tax grew by 25.3 per cent to $178 million.

The telecommunications firm’s total customer base increased to 131.6 million, up 8.9 per cent, with increased penetration across mobile data (customer base up 9.7 per cent) and mobile money services (customer base up 19.7 per cent).

Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Segun Ogunsanya, said: “I am pleased to report that the Group has continued to post double-digit revenue growth, margin improvement and strong earnings growth. I am also particularly pleased with our ongoing strengthening of the balance sheet, which continued after the period ended, with early repayment of $450 million of debt at the Group level.

“As we flagged in our full year announcement, this quarter we have faced headwinds from outbound voice call barring for customers who had not yet registered their National Identification Numbers in Nigeria and the loss of site sharing revenue in those OpCos where we recently sold towers. Inflation is also having an impact on our cost base, particularly on energy costs, but our continued efficiency drives have ensured that we have still been able to increase our margins, albeit at a slightly slower rate.”