By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA – The Nigerian Communications Satellite limited, NIGCOMSAT says Federal government has not in any way opted out if the $550 million Chinese loan for two back-up satellites.

Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu

The agency in a statement on Thursday described as false the report, which quoted the minister if Communications as saying that the Federal government had opted out of the multi million dollar deal.

It explained that 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the Chinese EXIM bank is providing 85 per cent, a statement that was misquoted to mean that Federal Government had withdrawn from the loan agreement.

The statement reads: “The attention of the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited has been drawn to a statement credited to the Minister of Communications, Barr.
Adebayo Shittu in a media indicating that the Federal Government has opted out of the $550 million Chinese loan for the purpose of funding the procurement of two additional satellites, NigComSat 2 & NigComSat 3.

“After a careful consultation with the Hon. Minister on the media report, it was obviously clear that the remarks of the Hon. Minister were grossly misrepresented to mean that the federal government was opting out of the already signed framework agreement on NigComSat 2 & NigComSat 3.

“It is on record that the Hon. 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.
“This 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 Hon. Minister in the past two years.

“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% 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 possible.

“We 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.”

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