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Buhari To Probe $252million Sale of NITEL/MTEL





President Mohammadu Buhari has ordered probes into the sale of Nigerian
Telecommunications, NITEL and Mobile Telecommunications, MTEL sold for
$252million to NATCOM Consortium during the regime of President Goodluck
Jonathan.
Buhari while receiving reports from the Permanent Secretary of the
Ministry of Communication Technology said the probe has become necessary
following protests from NITEL workers over the way and manner the
organization was sold.
It will be recalled that former President Jonathan’s administration sold
the telecom company for $252m to NATCOM consortium in December 2014.
Buhari also directed the Ministry of Communications Technology to work
harder to fully develop the revenue-generation potential of Nigeria’s
information technology sector.
Speaking after receiving a briefing from the Permanent Secretary of the
Ministry, Dr. Tunji Olaopa, President Buhari  also directed the Ministry
to bring forward for his consideration and approval, all pending proposals
for the development of the country’s IT sector which require the approval
of the Federal Executive Council.
“Where you don’t need EXCO approval and you are not in breach of the law
and will not lose money, you can go ahead. Now that oil costs less and we
are contending with its theft, we have to move to areas where we can
realize revenue quickly,” the President said.
President Buhari welcomed the plan by the Ministry to use post-offices
across the country for IT and financial transactions especially in the
rural communities, saying that he was happy to hear that “we are
recovering the post offices from rats and rodents.”
The President also asked for a comprehensive report on the sale of the
Nigerian Telecommunications Company (NITEL), saying that he was concerned
by the continuing protests of former NITEL employees and other Nigerians
over the manner in which assets of the company were sold.
The Ministry’s presentation to the President dwelled heavily on the
potential of the IT sector which, Dr. Olaopa said, contributes 10 percent
of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, but could grow to 20 percent
if some proposals by the Ministry are approved and implemented.
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