Honourable Samson Osagie, Executive Director, Business Development of the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat) has refuted reports claiming the agency has suspended it loan talks with China for the procurement of an additional satellite.
The loan, valued at USD 150 million, was meant to procure a back-up satellite in orbit, to strengthen the commercial operations of NigComSat satellites.
Earlier reports by some national dallies claimed the suspension might be due to the failure of parties involved to reach a consensus before the dissolution of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which was presented the project proposition for consideration by the former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, by President Mohammadu Buhari. The reports also claimed that the new minister is yet to receive a briefing on the issue.
While speaking to Space in Africa, Honourable Osagie said discussions on the new satellites are on-going with a couple of satellite manufacturers including China.
“The challenge of finding the most suitable funding option couple with the wait for the approval from appropriate agencies of government are some of the factors that are delaying the process. The new Minister of Communication and Digital Economy is very committed to the acquisition of the additional satellites by the company”, he said.
Commenting on the functionality and capacity of the Nigcomsat 1R, the Executive Director said, “the satellite still has adequate capacity for service delivery across Nigeria and beyond. Our clients do not need to worry”.
On the issue of privatization of the company, Honourable Osagie dismissed such as rumours and said there is currently no such plan.
Before vacating the office, the former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, stated that the contribution of the Chinese wasn’t a loan, but would serve as equity, Nairametrics had reported in April 2019. Shittu said the initial proposition was a loan, but because Nigeria couldn’t afford the required 15 per cent counterpart funding, both parties decided on the conversion of the loan to equity.
Ogechi Onuoha is a Cambridge Certified ESOL editor with a background in reporting, international relations, creative writing and adept in industry research and analysis. She is passionate about curating and evaluating the benefits/relevance of space to grassroots development and women’s participation in the space sector.