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Develop Modalities For Int’l Competition, Perm Sec Urges NigComSat

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FMoCDE Brief
R-L: The managing director, NigComSat Ltd., Engr. Tukur Lawal briefing the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. William Alo during the agency briefing at the ministry in Abuja.

The permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. William Alo has charged Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) to establish effective and efficient modalities that will enable the agency to compete favourably on the international stage and aligned with global best practices.

During a meeting with the managing director of NigComSat and his team, Alo emphasised that such briefings are customary, particularly after changes in leadership within the supervising ministry or its affiliated agencies. The objective is to familiarise the new leadership with the agency’s activities and operations, aligned with the ministry’s supervisory role. He also conveyed his congratulations on the well-deserved appointment.

The permanent secretary urged the managing director to work towards establishing a policy framework through appropriate authorities to strengthen NigComSat’s operations and services, warning that without such a framework, the agency might face the risk of being merged. “As a government company providing satellite services to the country and humanity in general, you should be working on a policy framework for your agency, which will be presented to the Federal Executive Council for approval,” he added.

Alo stressed the significance of this instrument in several aspects, including defining NigComSat’s mandate and objectives, safeguarding its operations and services and demonstrating the company’s contribution to the government’s internally generated revenue (IGR).

The permanent secretary emphasised the need for improved and efficient service delivery, encouraging the managing director and his team of professionals to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to enhance revenue accruals to the government and support the agency’s operations. He also emphasised the importance of adhering to rules, regulations, existing laws and circulars governing the agency’s operations, as it is a government institution.

FMoCDE Briefing
The permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. William Alo (sixth from right) and the managing director, NigComSat Ltd., Engr. Tukur Lawal flanked by other ministry officials during the agency’s briefing in Abuja.

In response, the MD of NigComSat, Engr. Tukur Lawal expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to brief the permanent secretary on the agency’s activities and seek guidance. He highlighted NigComSat’s 16-year existence, citing its economic and technical potential for the country’s development. Tukur identified four key thematic objectives, including broadband leasing, broadcasting leasing, transport leasing and navigation leasing.

The MD acknowledged NigComSat’s active 28 transponders but expressed concern over the agency’s relatively low contribution to the government’s IGR. However, he reassured that, “We will change the narrative.” Tukur emphasised NigComSat’s immense potential for generating substantial revenue by providing satellite services to other African countries.

He further elaborated on NigComSat’s achievements since its inception, including support for national security, in-orbit testing for Belintersat-1 satellite, space-based augmentation system (SBAS), E-NHIA-National Health Insurance System, 5G-C-band migration, among others.

To address the country’s communication needs in broadband, broadcasting and internet services, NigComSat is taking steps to expand its fleet of satellites. As an ongoing project, the agency is procuring the manufacture and launch of a High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) called NigComSat-2.

Tukur emphasised that NigComSat’s optimal performance is dependent on adequate funding, budgetary allocations, patronage from government agencies, a supportive regulatory framework, and waivers such as licenses. He also highlighted the importance of state government engagement and support, National Assembly support and the Local Content Bill.

The MD assured the ministry of NigComSat’s unwavering loyalty in fulfilling its supervisory roles.

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