NATCOM Consortium wins bid for NITEL/MTEL

NITEL HQ in Abuja

NATCOM Consortium on Wednesday in Abuja emerged the preferred bidder for the acquisition of Nigerian Telecommunications Plc (NITEL) and Nigerian Mobile Telecommunication (MTEL).

The reserved bid price was 252.25 million dollars.

Mr Atedo Peterside, the Chairman, Technical Committee of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), disclosed this during public opening of financial bid for acquisition of the two companies.

Peterside said NCP approved privatisation of the two companies in February 2012 through guided liquidation after a review of previous failed attempts.

He said expressions of interest were received from 17 organisations and consortiums by the June 30 deadline, adding that only two of them met criteria for pre-qualification.

According to Peterside, the two successful bidders, NATCOM Consortium and NETTAG Consortium met the minimum pass mark of 75 per cent and were pre-qualified and issued Request for Proposal (RFP).

He said NETTAG Consortium was disqualified for failure to enclose a bid bond as stated in the RFP.

“Section 10.3.1 of the RFP requires that each bidder shall furnish, as part of its proposal, a bid bond in the form of a Bank Guarantee or a Letter of Credit in the sum of 10 million dollars.

“Section 10.3.2 of the RFP further specifies that any technical proposal not accompanied by the bid bond will be disqualified.

“Therefore following the disqualification of NETTAG Consortium as a result of its failure to submit a bid together with its technical proposal, only the financial bid of NATCOM Consortium qualified for opening today,” he said.

He said NATCOM scored an average of 92 per cent in its technical proposal, which was above the minimum mark of 75 per cent.
“As stipulated in the RFP, payment of 30 per cent of bid price is to be made within 15 days of notification and the balance will be paid within 90 days,” he said.

Mr Benjamin Dikki, the Director General, Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), said efforts to privatise NITEL and MTEL had been unsuccessful even though there was progress in the telecommunication sector.

He said the bureau had numerous challenges which included outstanding unpaid terminal benefits of ex-staff of NITEL and MTEL and arrears of salaries of trained staff, among others.

He also said that there was the challenge of huge accumulated unpaid licence and other fees due to Nigerian Communication Commission.

The Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson, said liberalisation of the sector in the last 13 years had attracted new investment of over 32 billion dollars from private sector.

Johnson said the investment had resulted in an increase in the number of subscribers from 750,000 to over 130 million, and that of teledensity from less than 30 per cent to 96.08 per cent.

She said the privatisation of NITEL and MTEL was the final step in the reform of the telecommunications sector.