NATCOM begins process to resuscitate NITEL, provide 10,000 jobs

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications, led by Hon. Saheed Fijabi, has said the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and its mobile subsidiary (MTEL) will employ about 10,000 Nigerians.

This was made known to the committee by the new owners of the once state-owned telecommunications giant, NATCOM, at an investigative public hearing by the committee in Abuja. This announcement comes almost a year after the NATCOM consortium became the preferred bidder for the moribund Nigerian Telecommunications Limited.

According to media reports, the NATCOM chairman, Mr. Olatunde Ayeni, told the House committee that having met all requirements and due diligence in the process leading to the acquisitions of NITEL and MTEL, the company put a programme in place to resuscitate the two ailing telecoms companies. He also said that efforts were being made to support the overhauling the former cable system and 10,000 Nigerians will be employed to set the companies on the path of competition with other players in the market.

Some issues raised at the meeting

According to the committee, the meeting was to review the commercial and technical areas of the sale of NITEL and its subsidiary MTEL as they affect the telecommunications regulatory body and the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE).

The committee also expressed their concern over the settlement of the indebtedness of NITEL by its new owner, NATCOM.

However, the committee noted that though NATCOM did all that was required of it, despite not being given any waiver by the BPE and it was necessary that the grey areas of NITEL’s indebtedness be sorted out by the BPE and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

While expressing satisfaction with NATCOM and its work-plan, the Hon. Saheed Fijabi-led committee directed both the BPE and the NCC to meet and discuss the sale of the two national telecoms firms and give a report after the meeting.

The question that begs to be answered now concerns how soon these jobs will be created. How soon will NATCOM clear the debts owed by NITEL? Will NITEL be able to compete with other telecommunications companies currently in Nigeria?

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