According to the Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, he said the Federal Government is searching for an innovative way to fund the acquisition of two new communications satellites for Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited.
Shittu, who said this when the board of the company visited him in Abuja, said the new approach was necessary in order to minimise its impact on other government programmes and projects.
Regretting that NigComSat Limited had enjoyed limited patronage, the minister urged private and public institutions across the country to patronise the satellite company in order to position it as a prime provider of satellite services across the African continent.
The company had earlier said that it required $550m for the acquisition of the two new communication satellites from the Chinese Great Wall Industry Corporation.
According to the company, the two new communication satellites will provide for redundancy as the company has only one satellite – the NigComSat-1(R) – in the orbit. The low patronage of the company has often been attributed to lack of backup capacity.
Shittu said, “It is unfortunate that a lot of people over the years have not really appreciated what NigComSat is doing and stands for in the Nigerian fledging economy and as such, receives little or no patronage from public and private organisations who patronise foreign satellites for their services.
‘‘NigComSat, even though it’s a business, is such an important entity because it was set up to provide true intervention facilities for satellite communications. But because of the capital intensive nature of bringing about such services, the potential of the agency has not been optimally explored.”