The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu has disclosed plans by the Federal government to acquire $100 million to develop rural broadband connectivity across the country.
Shittu made this point while talking to newsmen on the sidelines of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Day held in Abuja on Thursday night.
He said if acquired within the next few months, would help telecommunications mast function without electricity.
He said, “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 added that repayment of the loan would be “ironed out” by the Ministries of Finance and Budget and National Planning.
Responding, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Abhay Thakur acknowledged recipient of ghe project report from the government.
Thakur also said the pilot phase of the project if considered, would start in Oyo and would be replicated in the other 36 states.
“This is something India has achieved, and hopes to cooperate on with Nigeria with the support of the Nigerian government.”