Home Big Story POLICY REVIEW | Will Nigeria sell NIGCOMSAT?



The Federal Government in 2014 outlined plans to sell off stake in NIGCOMSAT Limited, the government-owned satellite services provider company, but not much seem to have happened about the privatisation plan.

That was during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, which created the Ministry of Communication Technology, and also appointed Dr Omobola Johnson, as the pioneer Minister overseeing NIGCOMSAT, owners of Nigeria’s NigComSat-1R satellite.

However, Barrister Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu, who succeeded Dr Johnson has said that the government satellite company would be embarking on another ambitious undertaking: the purchase of not one, but two other satellites.

Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Ms Abimbola Alale recently expanded the roadmap of the proposed but hefty investments undertaking of the satellite company in shooting two more satellites into orbit.

“However, Barrister Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu, who succeeded Dr Johnson has said that the government satellite company would be embarking on another ambitious undertaking: the purchase of not one, but two other satellites.”

Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Ms Abimbola Alale
Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Ms Abimbola Alale

The plans to have more eyes in the sky by the satellite company will undoubtedly place considerable financial burden on its purse, and by extension, Nigeria’s investment in that space.

She was recently quoted that customers have tended to see the company’s NigComSat-1R satellite as a “lone satellite”, hence the company plans to buy two more, NigComSat-2 and 3.

Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Commuications
Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Commuications

At the outset of the Federal Government’s privatisation plans mulled by the immediate past Minister, Ms Alale, had estimated the market value of the NIGCOMSAT ground infrastructure in Abuja and China at about $1billion.

For her at the time, “if government chooses to increase commercialization efforts through additional critical infrastructure investment, then it will have the optimal asset utility to generate revenue and improve financial profiles to attract investors.”

But government will require capital outlay to acquire the infrastructural needs for it to privatize after full commercialization and purchase a new satellite, she said at the time.

For the satellite company at the time, because of austerity measures under the Goodluck administration, privatization will be preceded by a transition phase, according to the roadmap plan.

According to her, the 2015 transition plan will focus on commercial growth and an improved financial attractiveness of the project then privatisation is expected to be implemented by 2018.

Not so much has been heard ever since of the planned privatisation of NIGCOMSAT, nor has any roadmap been outlined, including a confirmation if government has decided to shelve the plan.

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