By Emmanuel Elebeke
At last, the Governors from the 36 states of the federation under the auspices of the Governors’ Forum, have resolved 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.
According to a statement signed by the Technical Assistant to the minister on Information Technology, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, 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 held on the 22nd of January, 2020.
The minister during the meeting the minister was accompanied by Prof Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Funke Opeke, Chairperson of the Presidential Committee on National Broadband Plan (2020-2025).
In his presentation, Dr Pantami highlighted 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, His Excellency, Dr. Fayemi, stated that the Honourable Minister should consider the matter resolved. There will no longer be any need to appeal to the Governors on the issue of RoW.
In addition to the discussion on the RoW, the Minister also brought to fore the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) which was unveiled by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 28th of November 2019.
Dr. Pantami 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.
The Minister, however, expressed gratitude to the Chairman and members of the Governors Forum for their support in resolving the RoW challenge.