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Sunday, 6 October 2013
Nigeria: Reps Stop Sale of Nitel, Mtel - Reverse Sale of Necom House
The House of Representatives has directed the National Council of Privatisation to direct the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to immediately stop the on-going process of liquidation of the Nigeria
Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and the Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTEL).
Adopting a report of its joint committees on privatisation and commercialisation, finance, communications, public procurement and information technology the House also reversed "the sale of NECOM House, a core asset sold as a non-core asset, as it is critical to NITEL and MTEL operations."
The House in its report directed NCP to order NITEL and MTEL to commence the process of conducting technical and financial audit of the two companies as approved by their boards.
The report said that NCP should "recommend to the federal government to include NITEL and MTEL in the Central Bank of Nigeria bailout intervention fund with a total sum equivalent to $1 billion to be refunded with interest over a period of five years."
The House also directed the federal government to order the ministry of finance to comply with the agreement between NITEL and MDAs to deduct from source the reconciled N6.2 billion and remit to NITEL for immediate settlement of outstanding staff salary arrears and other fringe benefits as well as resuscitation of the company. Similarly, the House directed NCP to eliminate the over N170 billion variance under supervision of the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation as well as consider Public Private Partnership (PPP) as a privatisation strategy of the companies and maintain national carrier status for security reasons.
While pleading with state governors to reconcile the N4 billion NITEL debts and pay accordingly, the House urged the Federal Government "to direct the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and NITEL management to determine the fees due to the new regime from single double tandem that was unfair to NITEL."
It states that, "the Federal Government should direct NCC to include the present management of NITEL and MTEL in the National Broadband Implementation Roadmap.
It added that "NCP should direct BPE to comply with Federal High Court judgments in favour of the 3,000 staff of NITEL/MTEL treated as casuals and the other one in favour of NITEL/MTEL pensioners."