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Nigeria Privatises State-Owned Telco - Again

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Nigeria's government has again privatised the state owned Nitel Mtel networks, and handed over ownership to the NATCOM consortium for a payment of USD252 million.

Deputy Chairman, National Council on Privatisation Technical Committee, Haruna Sambo, confirmed that payment had been received and that the ownership transfer had taken place.

Various attempts to privatise the company or turn around its fortunes have stalled, but despite that there is still political support for yet another attempt to rescue the ailing telecoms operator.

Local company, Transcorp bought a 75% stake in 2006 in Nitel for $750 million during an earlier privatization sale, but the government reclaimed the stake in 2009 following several years of neglect.

Since then there have been three aborted attempts to sell the company, with the last failing in June 2011 when the Omen International Consortium failed to pay a required USD105 million deposit on the sale.

Nitel had less than 100,000 landline users when it was wound-up by the government, and barely a few thousand customers of its mobile network. That compares to a country with over 100 million mobile phone subscribers connected to the private networks.

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Tags: nitel  mtel  Nigeria