The Federal Government has realised over N101 billion from the Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) which has been in coma for a long time.
This was disclosed Tuesday by Bolanle Onagoruwa, Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) at the opening of a two-day investigative hearing on the activities of Mtel/NITEL’s management board, status of its investment as well as revenue generation from ongoing services rendered to other telecommunication companies in Nigeria held by the House Joint Committee on privatisation, finance, communications, public procurement and information technology.
The BPE boss noted that National Council on Privatisation (NCP) is favourably disposed to adopting ‘guided liquidation’ against the injection of $1 billion for the re-activation of the two telecoms companies as alternatives.
In her presentation, Onagoruwa argued that the debt profile of the public parastatal stood at N354 billion. But IIlyasu-Sa’ab put the total debt profile at N182 billion out of which NITEL owed N79 billion while Mtel owed N103 billion.
She disclosed that the sum of $3,668,561.70 was generated from Sat-3 submarine cable, $2,855,091.81 remitted in the domiciliary account, $521,990 generated from British Telecoms, $290,230 from cable and wireless services while $1,249.84 was realised from interest.
According to her, the companies liabilities include N65,227,595,681 on equipment vendors; N81,711,196,994 on bank claims; N183,403,439,256 for government agencies and N24,504,836,126 for others.
She added that Federal Government raised the sum of N68,248,884,000 through Debt Management Office (DMO) to offset outstanding salaries totalling N54.2 billion leaving a debt profile at N122,448,884,000 with Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
While reacting, Khadijat Ibrahim, Chairperson of the Committee and her colleagues in the joint committee queried BPE over the N172 billion differential in the debt profile compiled by both parties.
Ibrahim who expressed concern over the BPE’s unsuccessful privatisation exercise regarding several publicly owned parastatals and their eventual collapse or poor state said “I see no reason why the Federal Government cannot put money into NITEL and Mtel and resuscitate it.” Speaking earlier, Illyasu-Sa’ad disclosed that the company generated the sum of $5 million required to maintain Sat-3 yearly, noting that no core investor can take possession of the 7.33 percent share of Sat-3 as stated in the agreement signed by the 33 member states, adding that only member states can acquire the share.
She explained that the implementation of some of the expansion programmes was stalled by the privatization exercise, adding that Mtel had 1.4 million subscriber capacity and national geographical 11.57 percent as at 2006, as well as 566 base transceiver stations but noted that Mtel has lost its market.
She disclosed that Mtel is owing banks, contractors and interconnect companies N79 billion. Other operational challenges include sale of critical core assets of the company like the NECOM house, lease office accommodation and sale of NITEL headquarters, stolen and vandalised equipment and integration challenges.
She disclosed that the company generated N2.5 billion in 2009, N2.3 billion in 2010 but recorded decline in its revenue N853 million in 2011 adding that local currency was worth N105,286 million and $182,649.79 as at June 2009.
In their presentations, the Senior Staff Association of Transport and Communication (SSASTAC) vowed to resuscitate the companies if handed over to workers.
On his part, Ibrahim Nakande, former minister of state for communication who flayed the handing over of NITEL/Mtel to Transcorp noted that the best option was to hand it over to Orascom.
Also speaking, Abubakar Nahuche, former Managing Director of NITEL under Transcorp maintained that Transcorp lacked the financial capacity to run the two telecoms companies and technical capacity.