President Muhammadu Buhari has demanded for a comprehensive report on sale of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), and Nigerian Mobile Telecommunication (Mtel), from the Ministry of Communications Technology.
The President made the request after briefing by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Tunji Olaopa in Abuja on Tuesday.
NAN recalls that the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), at its meeting of February 27, 2012, approved the privatisation of NITEL and Mtel through “guided liquidation”.
The meeting was presided over by former Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
The preferred bidder of NITEL/Mtel, NATCOM Consortium, on April 2, 2015, completed the payment of the telecommunications assets for 252 million dollars.
Buhari, however, said he was concerned by the continuing protests by former NITEL/Mtel employees and other Nigerians over the manner in which assets of the company were sold.
The president challenged the ministry to work harder to fully develop the revenue-generation potential of Nigeria’s information technology sector.
He also directed the ministry to bring forward for his consideration and approval, all pending proposals for the development of the country’s IT sector which required the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“Where you don’t need EXCO approval and you are not in breach of the law and will not lose money, you can go ahead.
“Now that oil costs less and we are contending with its theft, we have to move to areas where we can realize revenue quickly,” he said.
Buhari welcomed the plan by the ministry to use post offices across the country for IT and financial transactions especially in the rural communities, saying that he was happy to hear that “we are recovering the post offices from rats and rodents.”
The ministry’s presentation dwelled heavily on the potential of the IT sector in boosting the nation’s economy.
According to the permanent secretary, the sector contributes 10 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, but could grow to 20 per cent if some proposals by the ministry are approved and implemented.