Tuesday, May 27, 2008

‘Transcorp still committed to revive NITEL’

Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) has reiterated commitment to revitalise the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and its mobile unit, the Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTEL), despite indications that the telco is at the crossroads, reports CHIOMA CHUKA.

According to the telco, NITEL is still profitable.

An impeccable source, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed on Monday that Transcorp might have felt disappointed with the financial irregularities discovered in NITEL recently; it is working out modalities to ensure the loopholes are blocked and that such occurrences do not repeat itself in the future.

Transcorp had, fortnight ago, alleged that its team of accountants which had been examining financial records of NITEL, discovered what it referred to as a major fraud. The team, according to Transcorp, had identified a huge leak in the billing system of NITEL through which revenue generation was unaccounted for.

As a result of this, Transcorp threatened to suspend further investments in NITEL until corrective steps were taken to block leakages in the financial system of the first national telephone network operator.

However, the source disclosed, Transcorp is committed to its plans for NITEL and MTEL; adding that the management is currently reviewing its blueprint meant for revival of the subsidiaries. ‘Transcorp still believes NITEL has enormous potential to return to the path of profitability.

Despite the challenges, Transcorp has a huge potential to pay huge returns to shareholders,’ he said.

Reacting to the position of the National Union of Postal and Telecommunications Employees (NUPTE) on the issue, the source said the body only needed to gain access to the various steps Transcorp is taking to address the pending issues.

NUPTE is calling on the Federal Government to take over the management of NITEL due to what it called incapability in managing the crisis in the first national carrier.

The source however was not satisfied with the NUPTE’s judgement of the prevailing crisis, asking whether the government would give thumps up for the financial

irregularities just discovered in NITEL. Instead of pointing accusing fingers at Transcorp, the source advised the union to sanction any of its members involved in the alleged fraud, even if it would pitch another tent with the conglomerate.

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