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House against private participation in spectrum auction

12 February 2014, 12:03

Abuja - Members of the House of Representatives expressed concern at the participation of privately-held telecommunications companies in the proposed auction of the 2.3GHz broadband spectrum.

The lawmakers insist that the participation of privately held companies in the spectrum sales would not be in the best interest of the country since such firms are not subject to the corporate governance and full disclosure standards obligatory for publicly listed companies.

The proposed spectrum auction, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has valued at more than $23 million is scheduled to take place next month.

The winner of the single 2.3 GHz spectrum is expected to become the sole wholesaler of broadband services to other service providers in the Nigerian market.

While some big names in the telecoms sector are already finalizing moves to clinch the deal, federal lawmakers kicked against the participation of MTN, Airtel, Etisalat and other privately held companies interested in the auction.

The legislators have subsequently set up a committee to review the pre-qualification criteria for companies that wish to participate in the spectrum auction.

The lawmaker also directed the committee to vet future auctions of national telecommunications assets with a view to including a requirement that interested companies be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

– CAJ News

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