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Pantami, state govs meet, agree to reverse increased telecom fiber fees

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Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) and members of the Nigeria Governors' Forum at the meeting on Wednesday in Abuja

State governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum has resolved to address the lingering issue of the increase in Right of Way (RoW) charges by adopting 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 a bid to deepen broadband penetration in the country.

The Federal Government had faulted the hike of Right of Way charges by some state governments. RoW charges refer to fees paid by telecommunications operators to the government for the permission to install some of their infrastructure.

In a statement by Dr ‘Femi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), the resolution followed a presentation made by Dr. Pantami on behalf of the federal government during a meeting with the Governors’ Forum held on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to the communications minister, one of the key benefits of an increase in broadband access is the rapid growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) of any country.

In his reaction, the governors acknowledged the benefits of broadband penetration and the chairman of the Governors’ Forum and Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode 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,” Dr. Fayemi noted.

Dr. Pantami further thanked the chairman and members of the Governors’ Forum for their support in resolving the RoW challenge.

In a similar development, the honourable minister also discussed the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) which was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari, in November 2019 with the governors.  While informing 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, Dr Pantami urged the governors to key into the policy and strategy.

Others on the federal government entourage at the meeting are Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency and Funke Opeke, Chairperson of the Presidential Committee on National Broadband Plan (2020-2025).

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