Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Why use of arrived India’s $100m loan for broadband is put on hold

Whereas the Nigerians telecom industry stakeholders continue to herald the release and arrival of the solicited $100 million loan from the Indian government for universal Internet coverage and broadband expansion, a credible source in the Federal Ministry of Communications, has made it clear that usage will wait till the presence of a substantive minister.
In an interview, a top official of the Ministry, who pleaded anonymity confided in Business Hilights that “Yes, the fund has arrived as you said, but nobody, even the Permanent Secretary, cannot near it because its appropriation is far above the allowable limit for the office.”
“In line with civil service rules of engagement, only a substantive minister can order and decide how it can be appropriated which may even need the consent of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) because the approval to even go for the facility came from the FEC in the first instance.
The official, who decried that “The nation’s telecoms sector has been under serious standstill since the dissolution of FEC in May because there had been several memos which can only be acted upon by a minister that are piling up in the yet to be occupied office. The $100m loan for broadband from India via the EXIM Bank of India is one of the memos.
Recall that said facility, arranged by the EXIM Bank of India, followed a close collaboration between the India High Commission in Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Communications. The deal was facilitated by the immediate past Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, who had promised a 70 percent broadband penetration by 2021.
Business Hilights gathered further that the currently hanging facility is to accelerate the deployment of solar-based mobile telephone sites in the country’s vast rural areas.
Explaining more on the planned use of the facility, the ministry source averred that there are concluded plans to use the fund in installing about 1,000 locations could as soon as appropriation is approved by a minister.
“Recall that the facility is specially for the financing of the nation’s rural broadband network and deployment of robust masts to complement alternative power sources so as to resolve the current challenges faced by Agent Banking Providers in accessing data networks in target rural and underserved locations in rural parts of Nigeria,” the ministry official added.