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Nigerian officials say liquidation of state telco fuelled by corruption

Uproar over the potential liquidation of Nigeria’s state-owned telcos has ensued, following accusation of collusion.

Dawinderpal Sahota

April 27, 2012

1 Min Read
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Uproar over the potential liquidation of Nigeria’s state-owned telcos has ensued, following accusations of collusion.

The country’s Senate has opposed the Federal Government’s plans to liquidate Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (Nitel) and Mobile Telecommunications Limited (Mtel), according to local reports.

Director-general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Bolanle Onagoruwa, argued that Nitel/Mtel owes N351bn ($2.2bn) in debt. She also noted that the organisation has been dormant for over three years, some of the equipment was obsolete and the telco’s market share is almost zero.

However, Senator Gbenga Obadara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatisation, claimed that National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and BPE officials have only made public the liabilities of Nitel and Mtel, while not disclosing how much the organisation is worth or the amount of debtors it has.

He has accused the government of deliberately undervaluing Nitel and Mtel in order to sell them at discounted prices to personal associates.

He argued that if the N179bn owed by government agencies was deducted from the total liabilities of NTel/Mtel, the debt portfolio of the agency would amount to N172bn.

“We only recognise N172bn debt. Are we going to sell our national monument because of N172bn?” he asked.

Obadara added that members of the committee would undertake an assessment of NTel/Mtel assets in the six geo-political zones to determine the real worth of the agency.

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