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FG Should Avoid Political Buyer of NITEL – Zinox Boss

By on April 14, 2011

The Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Zinox Technologies Ltd, Chief Leo Stan Ekeh,  has called on the Federal Government to negotiate with a serious buyer and not a political buyer that can turn around the fortunes of  the Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd (NITEL).

He said  a serious buyer that has the financial muscle to help it to recover its value by introducing the latest technology and rolling out immediately is what NITEL needs to stop its downward spiral.

Ekeh  reiterated in a chat with THISDAY  that allowing NITEL to rot  was a disservice to the revenue base of the country that should not be allowed to happen because NITEL has a nationwide infrastructure that has potential to take telecoms services to every nook and cranny of the country.

He added that NITEL lost value in the past because of a number of reasons, but that it has a value that cannot be thrown away. He emphasised that it is not too late for the ailing telecoms firm to get back its groove, if it falls into the hands of the right managers. He said that  a revived NITEL will not only add to the robustness of the Nigerian economy but will create  competition for other Nigerian operators for the benefit of the Nigerian  subscriber.

The fifth attempt to privatise NITEL was still inconclusive and was facing an uncertain fate as Omen International; the reserve bidder of the privatisation exercise has failed to revalidate its bid but asked the federal government for an extension till after the April polls and the swearing in of a new government before it can pay for NITEL.

The Federal Government had on the 14th of March invited Omen to revalidate its bid after the preferred bidder, New Generation failed to pay 30 percent of the bid price of $2.5billion before the expiration of the deadline after many extensions given by the BPE.

Omen was asked to revalidate its offer because Section 3.4.3 of the Request for Proposal (RFP) sent to bidders had set the validity of the bid at six months after the submission date, except the bid proposal is extended. Since, Omen’s bid was submitted February 16th, 2010 and it expired on August 15th, 2010, Omen had to revalidate its offer if it was still interested, for the bid process to continue..

The federal government is said to be in a quandary and uncertain about the next step to take with the NITEL issue since it cannot afford to allow NITEL to continue to deteriorate. The next few weeks will unveil the fate of NITEL and what the government is likely to do about the NITEL issue.

Source : Thisday