NITEL sale hits another hurdle

4 Oct 2013

Nigeria’s House of Representatives has asked the federal government to halt the liquidation of indebted fixed line incumbent Nigerian Telecommunications (NITEL) and its mobile unit M-Tel, local newspaper Leadership reports. The move follows a report by the Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, Finance, Communications, Public Procurement and IT, which recommends that a ‘public private partnership’ strategy should instead be adopted for NITEL and M-Tel. ‘The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) should consider public private partnership as a privatisation strategy of the companies and maintain the national carrier status for security purposes,’ the report stated. It also recommends that a technical and financial audit of the telecoms company is carried out, and that outstanding debts and staff salaries are paid off.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the government began seeking a new buyer for a minimum 75% of NITEL and 100% of M-Tel in July 2009 after previous majority shareholder Transcorp divested its stake earlier in the year. However, a series of failed attempts at selling the indebted state-owned telco followed, and in March 2012 the government approved the adoption of a guided liquidation strategy for NITEL and M-Tel. In July 2013 the NCP appointed Olutola Senbore as the liquidator for the company, which is said to owe creditors around NGN400 billion (USD2.47 billion).

Nigeria, ntel (formerly NITEL/M-Tel)