Nigeria will launch a new communication satellite (Sat 2) into orbit this year, the country’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said on Monday.
Daily Trust reports that Pantami, who disclosed this during a one-day working visit and interaction with the staff of the Nigerian Communications Satellite in Abuja said he had secured the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to purchase another Communications satellite for the country.
The minister said the new satellite would boost the nation’s satellite communications capacity as well as the economy.
He also disclosed that he had gone further to lobby the Minister of Finance to ensure that this is included in the 2022 budget.
The federal government earmarked the sum of N2.5 billion for the satellite 2 project in the 2022 budget estimate.
The federal government had in 2017 announced plans to raise $550m required for the construction of two new communications satellites for Nigeria, which the Chinese Export and Import Bank accepted to provide.
Also, the minister said he had approved the establishment of some subsidiaries under NIGCOMSAT, as part of the ongoing effort to revive the institution to the path of progress and productivity.
‘‘Since 2019, I have been so passionate about the success of NIGCOMSAT. Starting with the suspension of the privatization of NIGCOMSAT.
“As a matter of fact, I have secured the approval of Mr President for purchasing of another Satellite. I went further to lobby the Minister of Finance to ensure that this is included in the 2022 budget.
“I have also approved establishment of some subsidiaries under NIGCOMSAT as part of efforts to revive the company and make it innovative and productive,” he said.
Pantami, who told the staff of the company that the innovation in the agency was not enough and needed to be improved upon, charged them to turn the institution around in order to justify the suspension of the proposed privatization plan.
The Minister said, “You need to turn things around through the unique and effective service you are able to provide and revenue you generate for the government.
“It is a difficult task to revive an institution and make it very successful, that you must make. The challenge of reviving NIGCOMSAT is not just a necessity but an obligation for all the staff,’’ he added.
Speaking on the revolution in NITDA, Pantami said through innovative policies and implementation, he succeeded in raising NITDA revenue from N7 billion to N19 billion annually, an agency that was supposed to be scrapped according to Orosanye report.
‘‘We revived NITDA and the agency has become a reference point for any IT project.’’
Earlier in her welcome address, the Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Dr Abimbola Alale, expressed delight for the support being given to the agency by the Minister and assured him that her staff would take up the new challenge and ensure that they deliver on the mandate given by the Minister.