The Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) has declared NATCOM Consortium the preferred bidder of the moribund Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and its mobile subsidiary Mobile Telecommunication Limited (Mtel). The consortium made the outstanding 70 percent payment of about N29.7 billion on Thursday April 2, four days before the April 7th deadline.

Prior to this, BPE—the secretariat of the National Council on Privatization—disclosed that the consortium had paid an initial 30 percent of the $252,521 bid price for the acquisition of NITEL. This was done in accordance to the requirement stipulated in the offer letter.

NATCOM is said to have fulfilled the requirements of providing a valid bid, unlike NETTAG Consortium, which was disqualified due to its non-disclosure of an enclosed bid, a clear violation of the guidelines stipulated in the Request for Proposal (RFP).

NITEL was Nigeria’s sole telecom operator prior to the privatization of the industry in the early 2000s. The then state-owned telecom, however, failed to rival international competition from MTN and Vodacom and was eventually liquidated and sold to Transcorp in 2006.

By Tobi Eyinade

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