By Tordue Salem
Protests forced the House of Representatives yesterday to stand down a N13 billion budget proposal for â€œSpecial Projectsâ€ of which N6.1billion was earmarked by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, for the registration of all SIM cards in Nigeria.
The lawmakers who argued that the N6.1 billion was unnecessary and too high for the exercise, urged the NCC to leave the job of registering SIM cards to telecommunications companies.
The total of the NCC budget proposal for Special Projects as shelved by the House yesterday is N13 billion. The breakdown: Emergency Communication Centre: N6.193,513; Sim card registration,N6.1billion; Phone registration against theft, N300,000 and ICT training in conjunction with Federal Ministry of Labour, N500,000.
The NCC wants the budget for those items drawn from its N71.5 billion projected revenue for the end of 2010 or from â€œreceipts and payments for the period ending 31st December, 2010.â€
But members of the House, however, protested against the proposal, saying it is bogus and a ploy by the communications regulator that is â€œfinancially self-sustainingâ€ to swindle the country of that whopping sum.
The Speaker of the House who presided, however assured that the proposal would be considered at a Committee on Supplies next Tuesday.