The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali-Pantami, has commended the governors of Kaduna, Imo, Katsina and Plateau States, Nasir El-Rufai, Hope Uzodinma, Aminu Masari and Simon Lalong respectively for approving or even waiving the minimum charges for the fibre optic Right of Way, RoW, in their respective states.
In a statement on Thursday, the minister’s Technical Assistant on Information Technology, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, disclosed that the RoW charges in Kaduna State have been completely waived, while the charges in Katsina, Plateau and Imo States have been pegged at a maximum N145 per linear metre.
“On the 20th of May 2020, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State signed Executive Order No. 002, 2020, “significantly reducing Right of Way (RoW) of telecommunication companies in the state from N4,500 to N145 per meter in tandem with federal government policy”.
“The actions of the Governors are truly commendable. They also align with the resolution of the State Governors under the auspices of the Governors’ Forum on the 22nd of January 2020 to address the lingering issue of Right of Way (RoW) charges in a bid to deepen broadband penetration in the country and promote a Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria,” the statement added.
The minister recalled during a meeting with the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, on January 22, the governors had resolved to adopt the 2013 resolutions reached by the National Economic Council, NEC, which agreed on a maximum RoW charge of N145 per linear meter of fibre.
To this end, he said, “implementing this resolution will go a long way in implementing the National Broadband Plan (NBP) which was launched by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 19th of March 2020,” the minister stated.
“An increase in broadband access will have a positive impact on the economy of the various States as well as the entire country.
“One of the key benefits is the rapid growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) of any country that increases its broadband penetration.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important broadband is in supporting economies around the world.
Mr Pantami, therefore, urged the governors to continue to support the development of the digital economy across the country.
“We would like to encourage other Executive Governors to do the same in order to support the development of our digital economy, facilitate digital literacy and accelerate broadband penetration across the country.
“This will also improve our Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” the minister added.