Reps seek to suspend sale of NITEL, MTEL
Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00  From Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna) and Terhemba Daka, Abuja  News  –  National

THE Federal Government’s planned liquidation of the Nigerian Telecommunications Communication (NITEL) and its mobile subsidiary, Mobile Telecommunications Limited (M-Tel) received knocks by the House of Representatives as it expressed fears that the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) was attempting to sell the company for an amount less than the cost of procuring GSM licence.

Consequently, the Chamber yesterday called on the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), to suspend the panned liquidation of NITEL and M-Tel.

It also resolved to direct its Committees on Privatisation and Commercialisation, Communications, Public Procurement, Finance and Information Technology to conduct a public hearing on the planned liquidation.

The lawmakers said the move was aimed at halting the recurring trend of selling national assets at highly ridiculous prices.

In the case of NITEL/M-Tel, a motion introduced by Yusuf Ayo Tajudeen stated that the sale figures approved by the Federal Government do not reflect the true status of both companies.

According to Tajudeen, since a GSM licence was sold at about $380 million few years ago, it is ridiculous for the BPE to have placed a price tag of N143 billion on NITEL and M-Tel.

“NITEL has fibre optic cable. It should be liquidated with the appropriate price tag. Why must we sell our heritage at a pittance? I am aware that NITEL has Sat-3 that MTN wants to buy at about $25 million. Is it too difficult to get the right price quoted?” he said during his submission on the floor of the House.

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