Wednesday, November 01, 2006

FG warned: Don’t set up another NITEL

THE federal government has been warned not to set up a similar organisation like the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) after the purported sale of NITEL to Trans National Corporation (TRANSCORP) recently.

NITEL, it would be recalled has been a monopoly until the liberalisation of telecommunications industry since 2000 and was bought by TRANSCORP via what the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) described as ‘preferred negotiated bidder’ option for the sum of $750 million, about N1.1 billion.

This warning came from the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) in its position paper released recently in Lagos on the ‘Restructuring of the telecommunications, broadcasting and Information Technology (IT) industries.’

The group said that government should as matter of fact, under any circumstances or pretences turn into another telecom operator.

“We cannot privatise NITEL on one hand and commence another NITEL like- organisation on the other hand,” NIG said.

Hence, the group advocated that Galaxy and the Nigeria Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) under the Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) and the National Rural Telephony Project (NRTP) of the communications ministry be transferrd to the private sector for immediate management.

Funds realised thereof in the process, the group led by its President and chief executive of PiNet Informatics Limited, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said, should be transferred to private sector and be used to pay any outstanding loans incurred on the aforementioned projects.

The coming of these entities, such as Galaxy and NIGCOMSAT, the group alleged is an indication or rather a hiddern agenda by the authorities to still be an operator in the ICT sector, probably after disposing NITEL.

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