FG to launch 2 satellites in 2020

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The Minister of Communications Technology, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, has disclosed Nigeria’s plan to secure a $550 million equity from China for the purchase of two additional satellites for subsequent launch into the space in the next two years.
The minister who said this after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja recently, explained that both the China Exim Bank and China Great Walls, the manufacturers, had agreed to fund the project 100 percent following Nigeria’s inability to fulfill the initial it reached with China to provide 15 percent of the $550 million.
According to him, Nigeria’s satellite communications have hitherto been ineffective because the federal government-owned satellite company, NIGCOMSAT, has only a satellite which cannot satisfy the needs of prospective customers.
According to him, companies operating in Nigeria have sought satellite communications data abroad. He pointed out that once the agreement is signed, the manufacturing of the satellites will commence.
He added that after the formal manufacturing process has eventually commenced, it will take another two years for the launch of the satellites which he said was conceived to take the entire satellite communications market in Nigeria and the entire African continent.
He further explained that the sum of $550 million fund is not a loan but rather an equity which would be predicated on profit sharing agreement between Nigeria and the Chinese companies. He stressed that once the satellites are launched, all companies operating in Nigeria would be barred from patronizing foreign companies for their satellite communications data.
“We hope to procure two new satellites for NIGCOMSAT from China. Initially, the agreement was that they would provide the cost of the two satellites at the cost of $550 million minus 15 percent which is to be the counterpart fund. Because we could not afford this fifteen percent, we have renegotiated with China Exim Bank and China Great Walls, the manufacturers, and they have happily agreed to pay the extra sum of $550 million to provide two new satellites.
“Already, we have one satellite over the last seven years. Having two new ones is to ensure that the Nigerian satellite company can conquer the entire African continent with regards to the provision of satellite services.
“It takes two years to make a release because it is after signing of the papers that they will start production and that takes two years. So, we hope that at the end of this month, we will be able to sign the papers and then, they will commence the manufacturing of the satellites and it is after the conclusion of the manufacturing, that these two new satellites will be launched into the space.
“You see, Nigeria has been losing because with one satellite, the subscriber or the customer does not have confidence in the company which has just one satellite. If you have just one satellite and there is a problem with that satellite, they will lose their entire data.
“So, now that we are having additional satellites, we can now go ahead, not just to market our services to the entire continent but to also insist that all Nigerian entities must patronize Nigerian satellite company, rather than going to the US or UK for services, now, we can say, ‘no, our local content policies say you must patronize Nigeria.


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