FG to spend $550m on two back-up satellites- minister

Kaduna -The Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, has said Nigeria was expending $550 million on two back-up satellites to put an end to capital flight.

He also explained that a dedicated account had been opened for the fine imposed on MTN in Central Bank of Nigeria, since the money was not NCC’s to keep, adding that the government was satisfied with the process.

Shittu, who spoke while fielding questions from newsmen at the end of the 4th regular meeting of the National Council on  Communication Technology in Kaduna weekend, said: “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, if we can do the needful, we need just about $550 million to acquire two new satellites.

“We are already negotiating with the Chinese Nexim Bank, which has assured us that they will provide the money. Of course, the satellites will be built in China.

”Once, that is done, we can beat our chest and say nobody should take Nigerian money outside for purpose of storing data. I am confident that with Federal Government’s approval, we will get what we want.’’

He said the reason for the proposed procurement of two additional communication satellites for Nigeria was to encourage public and private orgainizations to patronize the Nigerian Communication Satellite, NigComSat and put an end to the capital flight occasioned by their patronage of foreign satellite.

Shittu, who likened NigComSat with only one satellite to a vehicle without spare tyre on a far journey, said people don’t patronize local satellite because of lack of confidence on the ability to reserve their data, hence their preference for foreign satellites.

He insisted that the only solution to the problem of NigComSat was for government to go ahead to procure two additional satellites that would serve as back-up to the existing one in case of any danger or loss of the  satellite

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