The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has commended state Governors for implementing the Right-of-Way Resolution adopted by the Nigeria Governors Forum in January 2020.
The Governors include Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna state, Simon Lalong of Plateau state, Hope Uzodimma of Imo state and Aminu Masari of Katsina state.
The Minister, in a statement signed by his Technical Assistant on Information Technology, Dr Femi Adeluyi, expressed delight with the strides made by the Governors in the implementation of the resolution.
The Nigeria Governors Forum had on the 22nd of January 2020 agreed 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.
At that meeting, the Executive 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.
“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”. Dr Pantami said.
Dr Pantami noted that Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, South-East Nigeria, had signed an Executive Order No. 002, 2020 on the 20th of May 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.
He said Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, also signed an Executive Order on 12th of May that will also slash the cost of RoW in the state from N4,500 to N145 per meter of linear optic fibre.
Dr Pantami pointed out that Kaduna, Katsina and Plateau States governors have also made similar laws in their respective states.
‘‘The RoW charges in these States have either been pegged at a maximum of N145 per linear metre or waived altogether”
“The RoW charges in Kaduna State have been completely waived, while the charges in Katsina, Plateau and Imo State have been pegged at a maximum N145 per linear metre”
‘’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,’’ Dr Pantami said.
The Minister noted that an increase in broadband access will have a positive impact on the economy of the various States as well as the entire country.
He maintained that a key benefit of the Governors’ action is the rapid growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria that will increase its broadband penetration.
‘‘The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important broadband is in supporting economies around the world,” the Minister said.
Dr Pantami commended the Governors for the actions and also encouraged other Executive Governors to emulate them in order to support the development of Nigeria’s digital economy, facilitate digital literacy, accelerate broadband penetration across the country and also improve Gross Domestic Product (GDP).