Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja
The Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited has debunked the rumour that Nigeria had pulled out of loan agreement with the Chinese to fund the acquisition of two addition communication satellites.
The agency stated this in a press release made available to THISDAY Thursday in Abuja.
â€œWe want to categorically state that government has not opted out of the arrangement with the Chinese EXIM Bank but are open to other investors in seeking the counterpart funding and general investments in this critical fast growing capital intensive but viable sector, which will immensely contribute to the economical growth of Nigeria,â€ the statement read.
The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, was quoted as saying recently that the federal government had opted out of the $550 million Chinese loan for the purpose of funding the procurement of two additional satellites, NigComSat 2 & NigComSat 3.
According to the statement, â€œAfter a careful consultation with the minister on the media report, it was obviously clear that the remarks of the minister were grossly misrepresented to mean that the federal government is opting out of the already signed framework agreement on NigComSat 2 & NigComSat 3.
â€˜It is on record that the minister led a high powered delegation to China for the negotiation of two additional satellites to guarantee the smooth, continuous and optimal business operations of NIGCOMSAT Ltd from the Chinese EXIM Bank.â€
The statement added that the minister was only referring to Nigeriaâ€™s 15 per cent counterpart funding.
â€œThis erroneous position canvassed by the media report will not only negate the spirit of the earlier stand of the Minister but a deliberate attempt to mislead and derail the laudable achievements of the minister in the past two years.
â€˜The minister only made inference to the fact that Nigeria is seeking for the counterpart contribution of 15 per cent of an already negotiated loan where the Chinese EXIM Bank is providing 85 per cent.
The counterpart funding of 15 per cent is open to Nigerian investors especially the private sector to key into the funding arrangement to ensure that this transaction is fully consummated as soon as possibleâ€, the agency in press release signed by Mr. Adamu Idris Head, Public Affairs Department added.