Nigeria dragging feet with NITEL liquidation
The process of liquidation of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) has been delayed because the Nigerian government needs to attend to several legal and technical issues before continuing. NITEL was liquidated earlier this year.
“The committee recommended that ‘guided liquidation’ should be adopted as the strategy for the privatisation of NITEL/M-Tel in view of the huge liabilities of both companies and that there was no viable financial alternative presented by the management of NITEL/M-Tel,” Chukwumah Nwokoh, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) spokesman, said at the time.
Now the BPE has been ordered by the Nigerian Senate not to go ahead with the liquidation process, but instead inject much-needed funds into the telecommunications company to try and revive it.
The National Privatization Council (NCP) said that the process is taking longer than expected, as there has been a disagreement on whether to revive the ill-fated company with government funds, or to liquidate it.
But according to The Daily Trust, “BPE spokesman Nwokoh said this is not true, arguing that liquidation is being delayed by some legal and technical issues. As soon as those issues are completely ironed out, NITEL and its mobile arm would be up for grabs.”
Nwokoh further explained that the planned liquidation has only been put on hold, and hasn’t been scrapped. “The Senate Committee did not reject the planned guided liquidation but only put it on hold because they said they wanted some explanations to some issues.”
However, the Bureau of Public Enterprises is adamant that liquidation is the answer. “Liquidation answers the question of the huge liabilities because it protects the investors from the creditors. In liquidation, an administrator, who will have to deal with the creditors, will be appointed to handle the liquidation,” the BPE told the Technical Committee of National Council on Privatization.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor