Thursday, December 10, 2009

FG approves fresh deadline for sale of NITEL, N3b for staff

The federal government of Nigerian has extended the deadline on filing bids for the privatisation of national operator Nitel and its mobile subsidiary Mtel.

Under the new arrangement, prospective bidders have until 22 January 2010 to submit their financial and technical bids for the two operators, says Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

BPE said that the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has also approved a loan of NGN 3 billion from the Nitel Pension Fund in Liquidation to pay five months salary of workers at Nitel and rent for the offices of Nitel and Mtel.

The announcement came on the same day when over 140 Nitel staff marched to the BPE to protest the continued delay in their salaries and allowances.

According to BPE, the payment of staff wages will be staggered into three tranches covering five months’ of salaries, while the remaining arrears of twelve months will be paid from the proceeds of the sale of NITEL and M-Tel.

“Staff are expected to get first tranche this week, and before Christmas, they would receive two months salaries. In January 2010, the workers would receive the balance of two months,” said BPE.

Prospective investors were invited to apply to acquire either at least 75 percent equity in the entire Nitel conglomerate or a stake in one or several of its components, namely SAT-3, domestic fixed-line telephony, national fibre-optic transmission backbone, CDMA network or Mtel.