The China EXIM Bank and the China Great Wall have agreed to pay for the production of two satellites (NigComSat) for Nigeria at the cost of $550 million.
The Minister of communication, Adebayo Shittu, made the disclosure while briefing the State House Correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Wednesday.
“I’m in the Presidency to see Mr. President and to brief him on three major issues. One, NigComSat which is one of our agencies where we hope to procure two new satellites from China. Initially the agreement was that they will provide the cost of the two satellite $550 million minus 15 percent which is the counterpart funding. Because we could not afford this 15 percent, we have renegotiated with the China EXIM Bank and the China Great Wall, who are the manufacturers and they have happily agreed to pay the entire $550 million to procure two new satellites.
Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited had in 2015 opened talks with China for the financing and construction of two new communication satellites at a cost of $701 million.
The new satellites, to be known as NigComSat-2 and NigComSat-3, are to serve as backup to the country’s existing communications satellite, NigComSat-1R, which was put in the orbit in December 2011.
The government targets to market the satellite services to Nigerian companies as well as the African continent.
The two satellites will be ready in two years after the signing of the agreement by the end of this month, the minister said.
The minister said the President was excited because “the Chinese are not just going to market our satellite to the entire African continent but also perhaps by legislation insists that all Nigerian entities must patronize the Nigerian satellite company rather going to Isreal, UK, US for satellite services. Now we can say by our local content policy we must patronize Nigeria.”