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FG Budgets N500.4 Million to Acquire NigComSat-2 in 2023

FG Budgets N500.4 Million to Acquire NigComSat-2 in 2023

The federal government has budgeted over N500.4 million for the acquisition of a second satellite, NigComSat-2 for the country.

According to the 2023 Appropriation Bill presented by President Buhari last week, the NigComSat-2, which is an ongoing project, constitutes the major project for the Nigerian Satellite Company next year.

In the current year 2022 budget, which is still being implemented, N3.3 billion was appropriated for the project.

The country’s current satellite, NigComSat-1R, which was launched in 2011 has a life span of 15 years, meaning that it has four years left, even as stakeholders continue to lament the underutilization of the multi-billion naira facility.

Aside from the new satellite project, the satellite company will also next year spend N105 million on the provision of satellite broadband and rural connectivity, while the sum of N168 million is to be spent on the upgrade of its ground station.

According to the 2023 Appropriation Bill, the satellite company is to draw the sum of N4.5 billion from the national purse next year. Out of this amount, N3 billion, is for recurrent expenditure, covering payment of salaries and wages of the company’s staff for the year. The remaining N1.5 billion is for capital projects.

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Before his exit in 2019, the immediate past minister of communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, had insisted that Nigeria needed two new satellites to act as a backup for the current one. He had announced plans to approach China-Exim bank to secure a loan of $550 million for the purpose.

This, however, met stiff resistance from stakeholders, who argued that the current satellite operated by the country has been a wasted investment as is not profitable and is being underutilized.

It is estimated that every year, digital mobile operators and telecommunications companies in Nigeria, spend over $2 billion on getting satellite services from foreign groups. However, the operators and even some government establishments have not been patronising the country’s satellite company.

The telecom operators have cited the high cost of access as one reason the satellite is being shunned. According to them, the cost of obtaining services from the nation’s satellite is far higher than what they get from foreign facilities.

Last year, the Satellite Company announced plans to acquire two new satellites, NigComSat-2 and NigComSat-3 in 2023 and 2025 respectively to replace the current NigComSat 1-R, which is expected to expire in 2026.

Recall, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NigComSat, Dr. Abimbola Alale, who disclosed this, stressed that Nigeria will acquire more satellites between now and 2025, “with the NigComSat-2 (High Throughput Satellite) due for launch in 2023, while NigComSat-3 will be launched in 2025.”

“l am pleased to inform you of our desire to acquire more satellites between now and 2025 with the NigComSat-2 Hight Throughput Satellite, due for launch in 2023, and the NigComSat-3 that will be launched in 2025.

“This will not only inspire confidence in our customers and channel partners, but also place NIGCOMSAT Ltd in the front line of communication satellite operators with a fleet of satellites in orbit,” she said.


About Bukola Olanrewaju

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