NITEL sale faces delays

cellphone.jpgThe sale of NITEL could face further delays due to the inability of foreign investors to get visas to visit the country and assess the operator’s assets, this according to Nigerian news source NEXT. Earlier this year the federal government gave the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) 60 working days to find a buyer for the company, but the 17 November deadline looks set to pass without a sale taking place. BPE spokesperson, Chigbo Anichebe, said that the delay is not a major issue for the bureau, which would rather see the process carried out thoroughly and the right investor found. Rather it is the government that is pushing for a quicker sale due to the depreciating value of NITEL and increasing competition in the telecoms market.
In October, MTN, Glomobile, Etisalat and Zain were disqualified from buying the mobile arm of NITEL (M-Tel) in the on-going effort to sell the Nigerian carrier. Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, Dr. Christopher Anyanwu said that if the bureau allowed any of the four licensed GSM operators to buy NITEL as a single entity, it would “present competition challenges and will conflict with the regulator’s guidelines and licensing conditions.”