Minister | Why Nigeria needs $550m for two satellites

Minister | Why Nigeria needs $550m for two satellites

Minister | Why Nigeria needs $550m for two satellites

0
0

Nigeria needs $550 million to acquire two more satellites “to adequately equip” NIGCOMSAT, the satellite services provider, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications has said.

Apart from NIGCOMSAT, Galaxy Backbone, the technology service provider to Federal Government will also need $350 million to complete the funding of its projects “so that the country would be properly covered.”

Shittu dropped the hint during an interactive meeting with stakeholders on the establishment of the proposed ICT University of Nigeria, ICT Development Bank and ICT Park and Exhibition Centre.

The Federal Government wants to diversify, which underscores the concern for government and industry to partner with both local and international investors in funding Ministry of Communications’ five critical areas of attention.

The Minister disclosure is coming after asking telecoms operators to address increased rate of dropped calls and other alleged “unwholesome practices” in the telecoms industry.

Shittu wants the private sector to intervene and support government in plans by Nigeria to buy two more satellite to adequately equip NIGCOMSAT. The government satellite company needs $550 million to buy these satellites “to be able to discharge its duties.”

 Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications
Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications

Meanwhile, Shittu wants the private sector to intervene and support government in plans by Nigeria to buy two more satellite to adequately equip NIGCOMSAT. The government satellite company needs $550 million to buy these satellites “to be able to discharge its duties.”

According to Shittu, five critical areas for the Ministry include NIGCOMSAT acquisition of two satellites; Galaxy Backbone’s $350 million funding needs to complete its project so that the country would be properly covered and the third area is the proposed ICT University, which will provide skill training and manpower to Nigerian youths and potential students from other African countries.

The Minister cites two other critical areas as the ICT Park and Exhibition Centre and the ICT Development Bank, “which is unique in a sense that it will provide specialised loans in the development of ICT infrastructure.”

Shittu challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to assist in creating a platform for the smooth take-off of the proposed ICT Development Bank, and asked other stakeholders to consider investing in these five specific areas, “because ICT being the greatest enabler, also has great investment opportunities”, according to a government statement.

Meanwhile, Shittu has also asked telecoms operators to address increased rate of dropped calls.

“The charge came as a result of correspondence the minister received from Office of the Secretary to the Government Federal (OSGF) and the Clerk to the National Assembly on the Senate resolutions on the issues of increased rate of dropped calls and other unwholesome practices such as call masking by telecommunication network providers in Nigeria”, the government statement said.

“Shittu enjoined NCC to investigate and invoke appropriate provisions of the law and other extant agreements to protect consumers and to refund them henceforth for disrupted calls caused by network issues and allow them have more control over their usage of data bundle as practised by telecoms operators in countries like Kenya, South Africa.”

A mobile phone user seen taking a selfie
A mobile phone user seen taking a selfie

According to the statement, “Shittu enjoined NCC to investigate and invoke appropriate provisions of the law and other extant agreements to protect consumers and to refund them henceforth for disrupted calls caused by network issues and allow them have more control over their usage of data bundle as practised by telecoms operators in countries like Kenya, South Africa.”

The Minister wants Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and other regulatory agencies “to carry out effective supervision of the telecoms service providers to ensure regulatory excellence, operational efficiency and sterling service delivery and also to investigate the causes of the dropped calls, call masking and to ensure that all international calls are terminated in Nigeria with the phone number of actual caller.”

The Network Service Providers in their response in their response outlined some of the causes of the dropped calls as some of the buildings lack In-building Solutions (IBS) for accessibility of calls, where a building like Federal Secretariat Complex has no in-building solutions that would make calls to be difficult, others are High Rising Buildings that overshadow other buildings  also affects calls, Fibre Optic Links tampering, separation of domestic rates from international calls amongst others.

They promised to work amicably with the relevant authorities as directed by the Minister.

Kolade Akinola Technology Journalist at Technology Times Mobile: + 234 (0) 807 401 6027

We want to hear from you...

%d bloggers like this: