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Stakeholder Urges FG to Revive NRTP Transaction




A STAKEHOLDER in the telecommunications sector has urged the federal government to expedite action towards handing over the National Rural Telephony Projects (NRTP) to the preferred bidders as a way to boost job and wealth creation in the country.

Engr. Gerry Ekesiani, a member of Association of Rural Telephony Operators of Nigeria (ARTON), said that NRTP remains a new metaphor on the new job and wealth creation agenda of the present administration.

“Imagine the number of Nigerians that will be employed when all the networks in the NRTP commence operation as well as businesses that the broadband services to be provided by the networks are going to be boosted,” he added.

Nigeria is looking for ways to drive the broadband penetration in the country from under 10 per cent now to the targeted 30 per cent by 2018 in line with the national broadband plan of the Federal Government and help meet the national broadband plan targets.

NRTP which began under former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration about 15 years ago was to cover 218 local government areas in the first phase and provide over 636,256 Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) lines in the 774 local government areas and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the second phase to bridge the digital divide between the urban and rural areas.

Since then, the project has face series of gridlocks in the process of handing over the project to preferred bidders that won to operate the projects in different parts of the country.

These include difficulty in securing certificate of concurrence from the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) which according to Bureau of Public Procurement is a must before it can seek approval from the federal executive council.

Before the coming of the new administration Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that the next stage in the transaction is Ministry of Communications getting budgetary approval to get federal executive council to rectify President’s approval of the transaction. Once all these are done, handing over the networks to the preferred bidders is the concluding stage of the transaction.

Among the companies that emerged preferred bidders in the various zones are, Suburban Limited (now Telefund Ltd) for Abuja and Kaduna zones respectively; Gicel Wireless emerged for Bauchi Zone; Voicewares Networks Limited for Enugu Zone; Key Communications for Ibadan Zone and Hezonic for Port Harcourt Zone.

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