It is good news for the telecom sector as state
governors now appear keen to adopt the 2013 resolutions reached by the National
Economic Council (NEC) to peg maximum Right of Way (RoW) charges at
per linear meter of fibre.
There has been uproar in the sector following hike of RoW charges by more than 1200% in some states forcing the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to appeal to governors to alter the decision or risk undermining the country’s goal for digital inclusion.
This week, Nigerian state governors under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) finally resolved to address the lingering issue of RoW charges in a bid to deepen broadband penetration in the country and promote a digital economy for a Digital Nigeria.
The resolution followed a presentation made by Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, during the meeting of the Governors’ Forum in Abuja. He was accompanied to the meeting by Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abddullahi, and Chairperson of the Presidential Committee on National Broadband Plan (2020-2025), Ms Funke Opeke.
Pantami discussed the many benefits that an increase
in broadband access can have on the economy of the various States. He noted that one of the key benefits is the
rapid growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of any country that increases
its broadband penetration. He then urged the State Governors to adopt the 2013
resolutions reached by the National Economic Council (NEC), which agreed on a
maximum RoW charge of
N145.00 per linear meter of fibre.
In response, the governors acknowledged the benefits of broadband penetration and the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, told the minister to consider the matter resolved. “There will no longer be any need to appeal to the governors on the issue of RoW,” said Fayemi.
In addition to the discussion on the RoW, Pantami also discussed the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) which was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari last November. The minister urged the state governors to key into the policy and strategy. He also informed them of the plan of the federal government to help the states with a digital economy strategy, through policy, digital skills and other areas of intervention.