The federal government has expressed dismay over increment in charges for laying of telecommunication fibres, known as Right of Way (RoW) by some states of the federation.
According to a report, Lagos, Kano, Anambra, Ondo, Cross River, Kogi, Osun, Kaduna, Enugu, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Imo, Kebbi and Gombe, are the states who jerked the cost of the RoW fees for telecoms infrastructure.
In a statement signed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, the government said the increase contravened an agreement reached at the National Economic Council (NEC).
The communications minister said the increment is detrimental to the government’s digital economy agenda.
Read the full statement below:
We received with dismay the decision of some states of the Federation to increase the Right of Way charges in disregard of the resolutions reached by the National Economic Council (NEC).
It may be recalled that in 2013, NEC set up a Committee comprising State Governors and Ministers to review the issues of multiple taxation in the telecommunications Industry in Nigeria and its impact. The Committee, after extensive and wide-ranging consultations, resolved to harmonize the taxes applicable to broadband related activities and streamline the taxation management processes across the Federation. Specifically, to deepen broadband penetration for the social and economic development of the country, the Committee agreed to the uniform Right of Way (RoW) charge of N145.00 per linear meter of fibre.
It may also be recalled that in October 2019, we had written to all the State Governors, drawing their attention to these resolutions and soliciting their support and collaboration towards the realisation of the National Digital Economy by fast-tracking the deployment of broadband infrastructure for the provision of affordable internet services to underserved and unserved areas.
It is true that the digital economy today is strategically dominating the world economy. Oxford Economics puts the current value of the digital economy at $11.5 trillion which is about 16% of the world economy. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum revealed that 60% of the global economy is expected to be digitised by 2022. With the renaming of the Federal Ministry of Communications to Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy as well as the unveiling of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy by Mr President, we are on the path of realising the potentials of the digital economy.
It is however disheartening to hear that some States have decided to disregard these resolutions and have, in some cases, increased the RoW charges by over 1,200%. This will no doubt impact negatively on the efforts being made by the Federal Government. It is established that there is a strong correlation between a country’s broadband penetration and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). An ITU study on Africa indicates that a 10% broadband penetration would result in an increase of 2.5% of GDP per capita.
We are therefore calling on all State Governors, especially those that have made public their decisions to increase the RoW charges, to reconsider these decisions in the interest of Nigerians as well as for the socio-economic growth and development of the country. We also draw their attention that these decisions, if implemented, will result in an increase on the costs of operations of the telecoms operators which will naturally be passed to the consumers.
Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM
Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy
Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy
Federal Secretariat, Abuja
14th January, 2020
Darkness across Nigeria as national grid collapses again
The national grid on Thursday experienced its first collapse in 2020 resulting in blackout across the country.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) confirmed the development in a statement on its Twitter page which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
“There was system disturbance which occurred at about 12.34 p.m affecting some parts of the country.
“As at 1:10 p.m, supply was restored to Abuja and most parts of the affected areas. TCN is still working to completely restore and stabilise the nation’s grid,” it said.
Ikeja Electric (IE) which also confirmed the grid collapse in a statement on its Twitter account, said another collapse of the grid occurred at 2.15 p.m after the previous incident.
“Dear customers, the outage you are experiencing is due to a system collapse of the grid which occurred this afternoon at 12:36 p.m. All parts of IE’s network are affected.
“Another system collapse was recorded at 2.15 p.m today. Restoration efforts are ongoing. Kindly bear with us,” the electricity distribution company said.
NAN reports that the national grid collapsed more than 10 times in 2019.
Uzodinma issues order freezing all Imo bank accounts
The governor-elect of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has issued an order freezing all bank accounts belonging to the state government with effect from January 14, 2020.
According to an ‘Order of Post No Debit’ issued by Director-General, Hope Uzodinma’s Campaign Organisation, Chief Cosmas Iwu, to all financial institutions and the Accountant-General of Imo State, no bank is to honour any transaction from the government of Chief Emeka Ihedioha or his officials.
The document, which was issued on January 14, 2020, titled ‘Order of Post No Debit on all accounts of Imo State Government Effective Immediately 14th January 2020’, reads:
“Following the Supreme Court judgment of 14th January 2020, I am directed by His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma to take this to your authority/instruction to place a Post No Debit (PND) order on all accounts of the Imo State Government maintained in your various institutions.
“You are by this letter, directed to comply and await further instructions from the office of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Imo State.”
Senator Uzodinma was yesterday declared the dully-elected governor of Imo State following a Supreme Court judgment which sacked the administration of Chief Emeka Ihedioha.
Reps slams Buhari over transfer of NBET to finance ministry
The House of Representatives has described as illegal and unconstitutional, a directive by President Muhammadu Buhari that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Limited (NBET) be domiciled under the Ministry of Finance.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Power, Mr. Aliyu Magaji (APC, Jigawa), declared that it should, therefore, be returned to the Ministry of Power.
The Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Limited, which was created through the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, currently operates under the Ministry of Finance due to a recent order of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Reps committee overruled the president at a meeting between the Ministry of Power, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), electricity distribution companies (Discos) and other stakeholders at the National Assembly on Monday on the executive’s proposed electricity tariff increment.
The lawmakers explained that the law that put NBET under the power ministry has not been repealed and as such, it is illegal and unconstitutional to say it has been transferred to the supervision of the finance ministry.
Addressing the committee, acting permanent secretary of the Ministry of Power, Mr Ahmed Abdul, who represented the minister, Saleh Mamman, said they were informed of the presidential directive that NBET is now under the supervision of the Finance ministry.
Magaji and members of the committee, however, opposed the move which they described as illegal and unconstitutional.
“We are talking of the law; I am sure somebody must have misled somebody somewhere. This law (putting NBET under Ministry of Power) is yet to be repealed or reviewed. So, NBET still remains in the Ministry of Power as far as this parliament is concerned, unless we change the law.”
Meanwhile, the legislators also asked the regulatory agency to give account of the N213 billion Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (NEMSF) disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to power distribution companies without commensurate result in services rendered to Nigerians.
The minister’s representative could not respond to the question and other raised at the meeting.