The project was designed to reduce rural-urban migration. To achieve this objective, the Federal Government, through a
ASB provided the fixed wire-lines while ZTE provided the fixed wireless - code division multiple access (CDMA) systems.
The country was divided into seven zones -
On the average, there are 36 networks in each zone made up of fixed wirelines and fixed wireless CDMA networks.
In accordance with the deregulation and privatization policy of the government, it was expected that the rural telephony networks would be managed by private operators, to ensure sustainability and achieve government's objectives of universal access to telecommunications by all Nigerians.
The Federal Government, in 2006, commenced the process to lease the networks to private operators to manage and ultimately own under the public private partnership (PPP) arrangement.
An inter-ministerial committee was set up under the chairmanship of the
Since the award of the contracts to the companies, the execution was stalled. The official letters of contract award, which should have been given to the winners not later than two weeks from the opening of the financial bids, were not released until a year after.
Later, the then Attorney General of the
Adding insult to injury for the operators, BPP advised that the matter be referred to the
Stakeholders who spoke to Sunday Vanguard believed that getting the ICRC involved was politics to stall the process as the body was not in existence when the process commenced.
"The ministry is to be blamed for the hitches suffered by government projects. You find out that the ministry people don't care; once a letter comes, they just dump it. They are not interested in the progress of the nation," one of the stakeholders said.
"After two years, I can confirm that the
The operators alleged that some telecommunication giants were behind the stalling of the NRTP as they didn't want it to succeed, because they know that the project would take over the whole country, forcing down their call tariffs.
Also, the current Minister of Communication is alleged to be making the process difficult, as she has allegedly refused to discuss the project with the NRTP operators.
One of the NRTP operators,
Another operator, the owner of Hezonic that won the bid for the
"If we knew it was going to be like this, we wouldn't have got involved. The loss is incalculable. It is billions of naira; the time lost, the efforts wasted are unimaginable.
"All these are just complications so that nothing will start. How would one imagine that it could take two government agencies two years to communicate on this project? The ministry is not interested in a project that is supposed to have commenced operation three years ago.
"Between the last three years and now, the government would have made billions of naira on tax, employment generation and levies. The project has the potential of creating 10 million direct and indirect jobs in five years. This project ought to have commenced before Etisalat came into
"As a result of the delay in completing this process by government for nearly seven years, most of the financial arrangements made by the NRTP operators both locally and internationally have abated, as most of the financial partners have either withdrawn support or no longer have confidence in the project.
"As a result, the NRTP operators were advised and applied to the
"This application was made and supported by the
Maduake called on the FMCT to present a memorandum to the
He noted that the
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