Sierratel secures USD29 million expansion loan from India
The Sierra Leone Parliament ratified a loan agreement of $29,452,856 for the modernization and expansion of the network and telecommunications infrastructure of Sierratel. The loan agreement was provided by the India Government through the ECOWAS Bank for investment and Development for the partial financing of the project for the modernization and expansion of the network and telecommunications infrastructure of Sierratel. This is probably the first time the Indian Governement has made finance of this sort available directly to a telco in Africa and it follows the Chinese practice which is much more widely knowm.
Presenting the Government motion before Parliament, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Momodu Kargbo said the objective of the project involved the replacement of obsolete transmission networks made of copper to a fiber optic and to provide the capacity of Sierratel to commence high speed internet.
The objective is to also construct high capacity fibre network between Freetown and other areas and to computerize all aspect of the companies operation to include sound delivery and enhance revenue collection and minimize revenue leakage.
The loan will also aid staff in the operation and maintainace of the network and to expand capable distribution network in Freetown and Lungi and build new network in Portloko, Makeni, Koidu and Moyamba.
The agreement was signed on the 7th May, 2009 and the maturity period of the loan is for 23years with a grace period of 8years with an interest rate of 2.7% per annum.
The deputy Minister revealed that the critical aspect of the project was the fiber optic that will be introduced in to the country to match up with the CDMA facility just introduced by Sierratel.