As Nigeria’s economy ploughs its way back from recession, the Federal Government has continued to restate its commitment to exploring other sectors of the economy and open them up to contribute to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and facilitate national development. At the opening ceremony of the 15th ITU Resolution 609 Consultation meeting and Radio Satellite Services Symposium in Abuja, the government said it was committed to the diversification of the economy through robust policies and promotion of services cum technologies such as radio navigation satellite system (RNSS). The Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu revealed government’s plans to explore the sector by utilizing the RNSS being managed by the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited to provide Global Positioning Services to airline operators and other commercial entities, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He said the L-band in the Nigerian Communications Satellite, NigComSat-1R had been activated and testing of the services would be carried out in the first quarter of 2019 towards the provision of this service, pointing out that the test run would be carried out with aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Air Force before it would be deployed in the civil aviation sector.
According to Shittu, the navigational services to be offered by NigComSat will serve as additional sources of revenue for the government as it stretches its quest for the diversification of the economy.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the management of NigComSat Limited was also in discussion with the NNPC for the deployment of the L-band geo-positioning services for monitoring of pipelines belonging to the national oil firm. The minister said, “In line with the economic recovery and growth plan of the administration, the government has been in the vanguard for the diversification of the economy through robust policies and promotion of services cum technologies such as Radio Navigation Satellite System.
“We are fully in support of back-up satellite systems for NigComSat’s robust service delivery, continuity and expansion in areas and sectors that cover broadcasting, navigation, telecommunications services etc. “In collaboration with our partners, we shall commence test-bed trials, characterisation and pilot demonstration by the first quarter of next year, 2019, using selected Nigerian Air Force aircraft and validation by the Agency for Aerial Navigation in Africa and Madagascar before deployment in the civil aviation sector.”
Earlier in her remarks, the managing director of NigComSat Limited, Abimbola Alale said the company was driven by the vision to provide ubiquitous connectivity and communication satellite solutions through innovation.
“NigComSat is responsible for managing and operating geostationary communications satellites. We currently have NigComSat-1R in geostationary orbit. NigComSat-1R has Quad-band (Ku, Ka, C and L bands) for telecommunications, broadcast and navigation overlay services,” she said. She added that the Ground Station Complex in Abuja was fully equipped with various facilities, including the satellite control centre, network operations centre, Direct-to-Home centre, broadband network service centre, innovation and development centre and Nigerian satellite augmentation system programme. In his goodwill message, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said the force recognised the use of satellite communication for navigation services and promised to key into the Radio ravigation satellite systems to enhance security operations, adding the force is ever ready to use the latest technologies for peaceful means.
In an address, the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mrs Nkechi Ejele represented by Dr. Patrick Oguhma, reiterated government’s commitment to support NIGCOMSAT for its navigation overlay service considering its enormous potentials in aviation and non-aviation sectors to fill up the great gap for an augmentation system in African continent and thus diversification of the economy. She expressed the hope that deliberations at the meeting would reach the desired levels of cooperation while also catching all the advantages which would further cement a cordial relationship among all participating countries and by extension all countries.
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