The Federal Government says it is working with the Indian Government to access $100 million concessional loan to develop the country’s rural broadband connectivity.
Mr Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, said this in an interview with newsmen on the sidelines of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Day held in Abuja. Shittu said that the loan to be accessed would be part of India’s 10 billion-dollar concessional loans to African countries for the implementation of projects of their national priority.
The minister said that the rural broadband connectivity in India “inspired” his application for the 100 million dollar-loan for the project. “Nigeria must be prepared to take advantage of the available opportunities, one of which is in 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 exceeded the 30 per cent connectivity rate. “However, with this initiative, I believe within the next two months, we will have the opportunity of getting a credit line of 100 million Dollars 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 explained that Indian companies would be the installers of the equipment “because it is their technology that we will use the credit line to acquire”. Shittu, however, said the timeline for the implementation of the project is yet to be determined.
He added that repayment of the loan would be “ironed out” by the Ministries of Finance and Budget and National Planning. 100 million Dollars was made available to Nigeria in 2017 to execute projects in the power sector including solar energy and rural electrification in three states: Kaduna, Cross River and Enugu.