By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has commended Governors El-Rufai, Uzodimma, Masari and Lalong for implementing Right of Way Resolution.
The Minister in a statement signed by his Technical Assistant (Information Technology), Dr Femi Adeluyi on Friday expressed delight with the strides that have been made by the Governors which he said aligned with the resolution of the State Governors under the auspices of the Governors’ Forum.
Recall that the 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.
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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.
In fulfilment of the agreement, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State on the 20th of May 2020, 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.
His action came after his Ekiti State counterpart and Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi signed an Executive Order that will also slashed cost of RoW in the state from N4,500 to N145 per meter of linear optic fibre.
In the same vein, their Kaduna, Katsina and Plateau counterparts recently followed the train by making similar laws in their respective states.
‘‘The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), is delighted to hear about the strides that have been made by the Executive Governors of Kaduna, Imo, Katsina and Plateau States with respect to Right of Way (RoW) charges.
‘‘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,’’ the statement reads.
Experts have said that 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 of the Governors’ action according to the Minister is the rapid growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) of Nigeria that will increase its broadband penetration, noting that ‘‘the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important broadband is in supporting economies around the world.’’
While congratulating the Governors for taking such important actions, he encouraged 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 and also improve our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).