The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, said at the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Day held in Abuja, In order to develop Nigeria’s rural broadband connectivity the Nigerian Government has said it is working with the Indian Government to access $100 million concessional loan.
Shittu cleared that the loan to be accessed would be part of India’s $10 billion concessional loans to African countries for the implementation of projects of their national priority. he further added saying the rural broadband connectivity in India “inspired” his application for the 100-million dollar loan for the project.
“Nigeria must be ready to take advantage of the available opportunities, one of which is in the securing of credit line for the development of rural backbone infrastructure.
“In India, as expansive as the country is, every area has sufficient broadband connectivity; everybody has access to online connectivity. This is the opposite in Nigeria. We have barely crosed the 30 percent connectivity rate.
“However, with this initiative, I believe within the next two months, we will have the opportunity of getting a credit line of $100m from India to develop rural infrastructure, such that without electricity, telecoms masts can function, as masts to be constructed via the credit line funding will be renewable based – that is solar-based,“ he said.
He explained that Indian companies would be the installers of the equipment “because it is their technology that we will use the credit line to obtain”.
Shittu, however, said the timeline for the exercise of the project was yet to be determined.
He added that the recovery of the loan would be “ironed out” by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
In his feedback, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abhay Thakur, told journalists that the High Commission had received a written project report from Nigeria and would study it.
“Nigeria and India are working very closely on the rural broadband network project.
“India is deeply interested because we really have a lot of expertise in the area of broadband network building, and reach to (the Indian) masses.
“We will study the written report, and I am sure very soon, we will be in a position to tender out the project under the India Development Assistance, which is a very attractive soft loan funding for Nigeria,” he said.