The Nigerian Ministry of Communications yesterday announced it was delaying of the sale of government owned PTO Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) until the third quarter of 2005, but declined to give a reason for its actions. The Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) had originally said it hoped to offload a 51% stake in the beleaguered NITEL by June. The state’s last attempt at a stake sale failed in March 2003 after the preferred bidder, International London Limited (ILL), failed to pay the USD1.11 billion asking price and the latest sell-off was provoked by the government’s annulment of an NITEL management contract over alleged incompetence; Pentascope of the Netherlands had been given the three-year USD12 million contract when ILL pulled out of the sale. South Africa’s dominant telecoms services provider Telkom SA is thought to be among the companies interested in NITEL.
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