No Plans To Privatise Nigerian Communications Satellite – FG

The federal government through the Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, yesterday, said there are no plans to privatise the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT).
The minister disclosed this during a facility tour/visit of the NIGCOMSAT ground station along Airport Road, Abuja, saying the facility, which is the only full-fledged technological facility in Africa is a national pride that should not be ceded to the private sector.
He said: “The private sector itself has the freedom to pull resources together and host satellites if they feel they need it, this is one national treasure which I don’t believe should be ceded to the private sector. We as Nigerians must have something we can call our collective own, something that’ll remain our national pride. So, for anybody to want to sell this national pride is a mere attempt to short-change Nigeria and all Nigerians. So, as long as I am minister I will never be party to any such unholy sale because it does not portray Nigeria’s national best interest.”
The minister decried the presence of only one satellite hosted by the Nigerian government in the orbit, describing it as very dangerous and risky.
He, however, revealed that the federal government is already making efforts to secure funds from international financiers to host more satellites.
Barr Shittu said: “We all know that all we find here is just to support one satellite in orbit. Nigeria currently has only one satellite in orbit which is certainly not enough; it is very risky and dangerous. We need to have more than one satellite in the orbit so that all other countries and companies who are patronising us and paying money for satellite services will be rest assured that their investments will be secured and safe.
“It is for this reason that we’ve been making effort since we came on board to ensure that we get foreign financiers to assist us with loans to get a second and possibly a third satellite in the orbit so that we can be rest assured that we have enough capacity to host the entire world with regards to satellite information provision.”
According to him, “To have an extra satellite you will be talking about 250 to 300 million dollars. We’re certainly looking for the funds and if we can get enough funding for two satellite I’ll prefer that and I can assure you that two foreign companies, including the China EximBank, is willing to assist us fund this project. It is not a feat that is going to take long once we secure funding within the next two years we’ll have new satellites in orbit.”

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