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By NBF News
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THE Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the implementation of the number portability project is been stalled by the delay in passing the bill to law by the National Assembly.

Specifically, at the last Consumer Outreach programme organised by the commission in Badagry early this month, the Assistant Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Femi Atoyebi, while reacting to question on snail speed development of the project, said the regulatory body was fully prepared for the task but still awaits the passage of the bill by the NASS.

According to him, whenever the bill is passed into law, the commission will put machinery into action to ensure smooth implementation of the project.

His words, 'On the number portability project, we awaits passage by the National Assembly. We are ready. So whenever the bill is passed and the go ahead is given, we will swing into action and get it implemented. We are fully ready.'

The mobile number portability is a process (a form of local roaming) enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers while changing from one mobile network operator to another.

The former minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili at the Airtel re-branding launch in Abuja had assured Nigerians of government's plan to ensure that the project comes to reckoning. She stressed that government was very keen on implementing it.

According to her, if Nigerians are to further enjoy good services at reduced prices, number portability was imperative.

'This current re-branding by Airtel, Nigerians are expectant of affordable services and I think specifically that number portability will do it. I can tell you with all authority that government will expedite actions on it.

She added, 'we have noticed with interest, your call for number portability, which will adequately improve the telecoms sector in Nigeria.     This would among others bring about tariff reductions in the operations.

Government through the NCC will expedite actions. It will come out with the needed guidelines, policies that will make it happen very soon. It's implementation will also help reduce the increasing rate of crimes in the country.'

In a recent chat with The Guardian, the CEO (International) and Joint Managing Director of Bharti Airtel Africa, Manoj Kohli, emphasised the importance of implementing the number portability project in the country.

Kohli attributed the urgency to the fact that Mobile Number Portability guarantees telecoms consumers the opportunity to make a conscious choice for quality.

He admitted that Number Portability will demand greater investment and more serious management of network quality and customer service, adding that Bharti Airtel is committed to enhancing these areas of customer service delivery.

The Airtel Chief commended the Nigeria Communications Commission for its astute management of regulatory issues in the burgeoning Nigerian telecommunications industry, and called on the Commission to make Mobile Number Portability a priority given the growing demand by customers for world class quality of service and excellent customer care.

He said, 'MNP is now treated as a consumer right in many parts of the world, and Nigerian, being the leading telecommunications market in Africa, should lead the way in giving telecommunications consumers this vital right to good quality and excellent service.'

However, a senior telecommunications analyst, who does not want his name in print, said government must ensure that the project was implemented.

He however, said that for the implementation of the project, the Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) must first all be carried so as to be able to have a back up for it.