The Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies, SSASCGOC, has rejected planned sale of Nigeria Communication Satellite Company, NIGCOMSAT by the Federal Government.
In a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, the union expressed shock over the plan to sell off NIGCOMSAT to private individuals, and called on the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, to halt all process in the interest of the nation.
In the petition, entitled “The proposed sale of Nigeria Communications Satellite Company: A call for caution,” the union contended that the NIGCOMSAT, a government company created via the Company and Allied Matters Act, was established on April 4, 2016 by the previous administration.
SASCGOC in the petition signed by its President General, Mohammed Yunusa, and its General Secretary, Ayo Olorunfemi, reminded President Buhari that the agency was created due to the need for critical national infrastructure for security communication to bridge digital drive and for digital/financial inclusion for large rural Nigeria.
The petition read: “As a responsible union, we do acknowledge the fact that NIGCOMSAT is yet to realize its full potentials. We equally know as a matter of fact that selling it to private individual or company cannot be a solution and will not be in the interest of the country.
“It is sad that the Federal Government of Nigeria has refused to fortify NIGCOMSAT Limited through an enabling Act, mandating all Ministries, Agencies and Departments, MDAs, to procure satellite services from NIGCOMSAT Limited.
”The government instead, went ahead to create Galaxy Backbone, thereby compounding the situation. Galaxy Backbone was created and mandated by law to provide internet services to all ministries and agencies of government across the country.
” This mandate given to Galaxy backbone was not only faulty ab initio, but also impeded the growth of NIGCOMSAT as a satellite industry and by extension, Nigerian economy.
“Your Excellency, at the point of writing this letter, Galaxy backbone has been using foreign satellite tp provide internet services to Nigeria government, thereby encouraging direct capital flight.
”It is inexplicable that a government that launched a satellite on loan from Chinese government will abandon it for a foreign one. This is unacceptable. We, therefore, hold that NIGCOMSAT should be strengthened to correct this aberration.”
The union expressed sadness that government had refused to support the infrastructure that it invested so much on, noting that the executive Order 003/005 would have been a good spring board for NIGCOMSAT to generate higher revenue through local content.
According to the union, selling NIGCOMSAT to a private company can have security implication that may worsen the current bad situation, and portray the current administration as dispossessing the country of its critical national assets.
Besides, it argued that the country would lose huge revenue to some super rich individuals, while the public perception of this government will reflect a repeat of past failure.
“It is in consideration of all of the above that we most respectfully appeal to your Excellency to as a matter of public interest, call the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, to order and direct its Director-General to liaise with our union for an alternative solution to the problems facing NIGCOMSAT,” the union stated.