Friday, November 20, 2009

NITEL Sale Date Could Be Extended Again Over Visa Delays

According to Nigerian news source NEXT, the deadline for the sale of ailing incumbent telco Nigerian Telecommunications (NITEL) looks set to be extended further, due to the inability of foreign investors to get visas to visit the country and assess the operator's assets.
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, told NEXT 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 early October the BPE extended the deadline for the submission of technical and financial bids from 2 October to 26 October due to the complexity of the process. The winning bidder was expected to be announced on 9 November.

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