The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami has frowned at some state governments’ disregard for Right of Way, RoW, agreement to increase charges more than the agreed amount.
A statement signed by the Minister, Dr Isa Pantami, on Tuesday in Abuja, said some of the states increased the RWCA, after the resolutions reached by the National Economic Council, NEC.
The minister, however, expressed dismay over the decision of some states to disregard the resolutions and, in some cases, increase the RoW charges by over 1,200 percent.
According to him, the increase will impact negatively on the efforts being made by the Federal Government.
“It is established that there is a strong correlation between a country’s broadband penetration and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“An ITU study on Africa indicates that a 10 per cent broadband penetration would result in an increase of 2.5 per cent of GDP per capita,” he said.
Mr Pantami recalled that in 2013 NEC set up a committee comprising state governors and Ministers to review the issues of multiple taxation in the telecommunications Industry in Nigeria and the impact.
He said that the committee, after extensive and wide-ranging consultations, resolved to harmonise the taxes applicable to broadband-related activities and streamline the taxation management processes across the Federation.
He explained that the committee agreed to the uniform Right of Way (RoW) charge of N145.00 per linear meter of fibre, specifically, to deepen broadband penetration for the social and economic development of the country.
According to Mr Pantami, it may also be recalled that in October 2019 we had written to all the state governors drawing their attention to these resolutions and soliciting their support and collaboration,
He said the resolutions were geared “towards the realisation of the National Digital Economy by fast-tracking the deployment of broadband infrastructure for the provision of affordable internet services to underserved and unserved areas’’.
“It is true that the digital economy today is strategically dominating the world economy.
“Oxford Economics puts the current value of the digital economy at $11.5 trillion which is about 16 per cent of the world economy.
“Furthermore, the World Economic Forum revealed that 60 per cent of the global economy is expected to be digitised by 2022.
“With the renaming of the Ministry as well as the unveiling of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy by Mr President, we are on the path of realising the potential of the digital economy,” Mr Pantami stated.
He called on all the state governors, especially, those that had made public their decisions to increase the RoW charges to reconsider those decisions in the interest of Nigerians as well as for the socio-economic growth and development of the country.
He also explained that the decisions, if implemented, would result in an increase in the costs of operations of the telecoms operators which would naturally be passed to the consumers.