Nigeria Targets Satellite Resources for Economic Growth


Nseobong Okon-Ekong

Contrary to fears being expressed in some quarters, the management of Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) has said Nigeria’s satellite resources are primed to help the nation in accelerating robust ICT infrastructure to boost economic development.

“As an organisation, we are committed to using the country’s satellite resources towards developing the needed infrastructure platform for engendering overall economic development,” Head, Public Affairs of NIGCOMSAT, Mr. Adamu Idris, said.

Already, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, had said that in the current Communications Sector Roadmap for 2016-2019, satellite resources owned by Nigeria would play a critical role in catalysing broadband growth, as it would be put into full usage to the benefits of the country’s economic growth.
With just 10 per cent broadband penetration in the country, Nigeria’s satellites resources both existing and soon-to-be-acquired satellites would be put into playing even greater role in the country.

He particularly noted that the company would explore new investment towards ensuring that the potentiality of the country’s satellite resources being managed by the NIGCOMSAT is unleashed to drive economic development.

While some have called for privatisation of NIGCOMSAT, which they believe has been taking more from rather than adding to the Nigerians coffer, Shittu has said that the West African country won’t privatise the NIGCOMSAT.
Speaking on the activities of NIGCOMSAT, its Managing Director, Mrs. Abimbola Alale, has said her company was established to champion broadband growth.

According to her, if well supported by the government and patronised by local and foreign organisations, the satellite technology would provide broadband links to people who could not be reached with fibre cables.

Alale, however, noted that though NigComSat-1, which was reported to have been lost in space in 2007 after 18 months of operation was only de-orbited because of technical challenges especially power supply, the new NigComSat-1R is a direct replica of it with similar functions.

According to her, NigComSat-1R launched in 2011 was built from the proceeds of the fully insured NigComSat-1 without any additional cost to the federal government.

She maintained that NigComSat -1R, which has being in space in the past four years would support the activities of China Great Wall Industries Corporation (CGWIC), by providing necessary facilities to test communication payload of the Belintersat-1 Satellite, recently launched in China, over Africa using its ground station infrastructures located in Abuja.

She further stated that besides other traditional services to various institutions including universities in the country, banks, security agencies, and the Republic of Gabon for the tracking of its rail system, NigComSat-1R facilities could also be deployed to perfect the country’s e-voting system ahead of the 2019 general elections. She, however, said this could only be made possible if there was collaboration between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and NigComSat Limited.

According to her, the satellite was built with radiation-hardened technology, high reliability, on-board software re-programme ability, fault tolerance and redundant amplifiers. NigComSat-1R’s payload has active and 12 redundant transponders.