Government needs $500m for two new satellites
‘Alleged repatriation of funds by MTN is a rumour’
About $550 million is needed by the Federal Government to acquire two new satellites.
Already, the government is negotiating with the Chinese Exim Bank and had secured assurances from the bank to provide the money.
The government also said that the allegation of repatriation of funds by MTN was nothing short of speculation.
Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, in an interview with journalists yesterday in Abuja, said: “Everything remains a speculation. There has never been a judicial enquiry to arrive at the conclusion that a crime has been committed. The rumour is for those making the allegation to substantiate their allegation.”
“If you know the amount of data that goes out in keeping Nigeria’s data in foreign satellites, it runs into billions of dollars. So, we can do the needful,” he said.
The minister, who said the proposed satellites would be built in China said: “Once that is done, we can beat our chest and say nobody should take Nigerian money outside for the purpose of storing data. I am confident that with Federal Government’s approval, we will get what we want. NigComSat has just one satellite and leaving NigComSat, with just one satellite is like someone traveling by road from Kaduna to Lagos. He goes to garage, board a car without a spare tyre. The fear will be that any of the tyres could burst on the way.
Passengers will prefer to look for vehicles with not only spare tyres but with good tyres.”
On the proposed nine per cent communication tax, the minister said: “The proposal for communication tax was not initiated by the executive.
It was a legislative initiative and we all know that the National Assembly has a right to pass laws that they deem fit to have in Nigeria.