- Fed Govt to Acquire Two More Satellites at $550m, Says Minister
The Federal Government said at the weekend that negotiations have reached an advanced stage to procure two additional satellites for the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) at the cost of $550 million.
Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu said the Federal Government’s team would secure funding for the satellites through a non-interest facility from a consortium of Chinese financial institutions.
He said the procurement of SAT2 and SAT3 was necessary, considering the fact that Nigeria was losing billions of dollars every year because it had only one satellite in the orbit.
He likened the situation to a car travelling from Abuja to Lagos without an extra tyre, describing the risk involved as enormous.
“Nigerian companies and government agencies are patronising foreign satellite firms as a result of this risk for the safety of their data and security of other services provided by them, thereby exporting jobs to other countries at the detriment of Nigerians,” the minister said.
The minister spoke while presenting a three-page communique issued at the end of a weeklong Fourth Regular Meeting of the National Council on Communications held at Arewa House, Kaduna.
He told reporters that the council recommended that “stakeholders, including state governments, should henceforth purchase satellite bandwidth requirements from NIGCOMSAT Ltd only”.
The minister said the council received a total of 76 memoranda, of which 65 were considered while it endorsed the Nigeria ICT Roadmap 2016-2019 as well as the National ICT Strategic Plan 2016-2024 for implementation.
Shittu added that the council recommended the adoption and implementation of the e-Governance Masterplan and the creation of states computer emergency response teams as measures to mitigate cyber security threats.
His words: “The council encouraged members from the states to adopt the implementation of the digital jobs initiative in their respective domains as a means of leveraging the opportunities for alternative income presented to Nigerian youths across the country.
“It recommends creation of innovative hubs and ICT centres to accelerate the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
“It encouraged federal, states and local governments to set up digital centres as a means of promoting ICT capacity-building and recommended digital literacy as a minimum requirement for employment and promotion in the public service and for implantation to be done in phases.”
The minister noted that other issues considered by the councils were that it advised government at all levels to digitise their records and adopt only Nigeria software in the process.
It further recommended that federal and state governments henceforth comply with the provision of the guidelines for Nigerian content in ICT.
He said states should establish their State Information Technology Development Agency (SITDA).
The minister added that the implementation of CCTV projects on security on highways should also be used for traffic management.