Nigeria’s Federal Governmentt Gives 60-Day Ultimatum for Nitel/Mtel Privatisation


Vice President Goodluck Jonathan has inaugurated the new board for the government-owned moribund communication company, NITEL/Mtel, with a 60-day marching order on the new board to take immediate steps towards making the ailing company more attractive to investors preparatory to its resale.

The Federal Government had early this year revoked the 51 per cent equity stake of Transnational Corporation (Transcorp) in Nitel/Mtel, citing a breach of the Share Sale Purchase Agreement (SSPA) among others.

Inaugurating the interim board chaired by Ammuna Ali, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communication, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Vice President Jonathan warned that on no account should the board embark on new projects until the company was handed over to the new core investor.

Jonathan said: "The president has given an unwritten order that we must conclude the privatisation of Nitel and Mtel within 60 days, but if we cannot achieve what we have to do within the 60 days, we can write to him and explain.

"You do not need to go into new investments, but if there are some critical things you need to do, you can clear with my office," the VP warned.

He admitted that "over a period of time, a lot of things have gone wrong in NITEL and Mtel and, therefore, urged the new board to try to ensure that things go right within the 60 days stipulated period for the appointment of another core investor for the ailing company.

"The board must also make sure that NITEL and Mtel management is intact, check if things are intact and if anybody has stolen anything, it must be brought to our notice and they will be made to pay for it," the VP said.