Nigeria’s Nitel is up for sale again, any buyer with deep pockets is welcome
The Federal Government has said it would only consider best bidders in the process of privatisation of Nitel so as to conclude the issue in the interest of Nitel staff and the country. The Vice President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, said this when he received Vodafone Executives United Kingdom, at the state house in Abuja.
Transcorp's Group Managing Director, Tom Iseghohi, has, however revealed that US$100m required for the interim restructuring of NITEL before the sale of some equity to a new core investor, has been set aside.
Vodafone, led by the Company's Chief Executive Officer UK, Paul Donovad, was in Nigeria to seek an opportunity to invest in Nigeria's fast growing telecommunications sector.
Iseghohi during an interactive session with top management staff of Nitel who pledged their loyalty to the quest of transforming Nitel in Abuja, disclosed that though the interim plan would not get Nitel out of the woods, but it will help reposition it to be able to attract the right kind of core investor envisaged by both Transcorp and the Federal Government which owns 49% equity in the company.
Iseghohi reiterated that one of the key areas that needs a quick fix before this is possible is the backbone and transmission infrastructure of Nitel. He added that the plan is expected to begin to yield result within a period of three to four months. He also disclosed that Transcorp has moved to end the monthly leakage of about N1.7bn from Nitel.
The General Manager in charge of audit of NITEL, Abdulkarim Momoh, in his remarks called for the probe of the company's investment in continental submarine cable popularly known as SAT-3.
Momoh pointed out that even though SAT-3 has the capacity to generate funds to run NITEL, only a paltry part of the capacity was being utilised thereby leaving a lot that could have been tapped from the facility.