Home Big Story IT’s a deal! Anambra joins Nigeria Smart City train

IT’s a deal! Anambra joins Nigeria Smart City train

IT’s a deal! Anambra joins Nigeria Smart City train
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Anambra State has joined a growing list of Nigerian States that have signed up for Smart City which makes them offer key policy concessions to promote rapid growth of broadband and other ICTs in the interest of their people.
[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Dr Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology”]The Smart City Plan will cover the following- Standardized fees for site building and approvals within the state, reduction in fees and possibility of waiver for Right of Way in deserving instances, implementation of a Dig-Once Policy, promotion of co-location between operators in the State and connectivity to state institutions within 1km of the given Right of Way. [/blockquote]
Under the pact announced Monday by the Ministry of Communication Technology, which is driving the plan, the Federal Government and Anambra State have agreed to work together to create an enabling environment that will position Anambra as a smart state.
Anambra is one of the Smart States selected by the Broadband Council to facilitate ICT infrastructure rollout critical for development. Other Smart states selected by the Broadband Council include Bayelsa, Gombe, Katsina and Ondo. Lagos has already reduced ROW charges by 85%. Bayelsa has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Smart state initiative.
The Ministry envisions that the concessions will lead to the accelerated roll out of critical ICT infrastructure across the state necessary for development.
The Ministry of Communication Technology and the Broadband Council, chaired by Dr Omobola Johnson, the Minister of Communication Technology, is promoting a ‘’Smart State’’ initiative that engages governors and relevant authorities at the state and federal level to address the issue of multiple taxation that impede accelerated roll out of critical infrastructure across Nigeria.
The main aim of the Smart States initiative is to ensure that effective measures are adopted to remove arbitrary charges and eradicate multiple taxations across the nation.
Efem Nkanga, SA Media to the Minister of Communication Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson, said in a statement to Technology Times that the agreement with Anambra will foster an enabling environment for the deployment of Communications Infrastructure that will lead to a reduction in the cost of network deployment and an increase in the rollout of such networks to commercial centres, underserved and rural areas by communications operators.
“In so doing, an enabling environment will be created that will increase broadband penetration -both fixed and mobile and increase access to such services at affordable prices for customers, creating digitally enabled urban areas called ‘Smart Cities’. Those States that provide such an enabling environment will be labelled ‘Model States’ and afforded the utmost support in achieving these objectives. In exchange, participating States can expect to see growth in economic activity and productivity and subsequently the positive development of the State”, according to the Ministry.
The Smart City Plan will cover the following- Standardized fees for site building and approvals within the state, reduction in fees and possibility of waiver for Right of Way in deserving instances, implementation of a Dig-Once Policy, promotion of co-location between operators in the State and connectivity to state institutions within 1km of the given Right of Way.
Prior to the deal with Anambra, the Ministry said it is working to remove bottlenecks in the way of delivery of top-grade service quality.
To tackle quality of service issues in the industry, the Ministry said it is in partnership with the Ministry of Works developed new Right of Way (RoW) guidelines for Federal Government roads to enable operators have unencumbered means of laying fibre optics which is critical for infrastructure development and quality of service.
It also plans to remove arbitrary charges and eradicate multiple taxations that impede telecoms development across Nigeria.
“The Ministry, for the first time in the history of Nigeria’s telecoms revolution, got state governors and relevant authorities at the State and Federal levels to address the issue of multiple taxation and adopt measures that will remove arbitrary charges and eradicate multiple taxations to enhance service delivery across the nation”, Nkanga added.
“A landmark agreement with the Lagos state government facilitated by the Ministry was brokered to address issues of RoW, base station deployment etc. Cost of RoW was slashed from 3000 to 500- a reduction of 85%.”
The Ministry is working replicate this in other states by convincing other state governors and relevant authorities at the state level to eliminate multiple taxation and adopt measures that will remove arbitrary charges and enhance telecoms service delivery, she added.
According to her, an assessment of the deployment of ICT infrastructure revealed that almost 70% of deployment cost was spent on processing ROW; taxes and levies on infrastructure.
“The Ministry strongly believes that the elimination of multiple taxes will result in cost-effective, accelerated and massive deployment of ICT infrastructure across the country, which will enhance quality delivery issues currently being experienced by telecoms subscribers”, according to the Minister’s aide.

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Kolade Akinola Technology Journalist at Technology Times Mobile: + 234 (0) 807 401 6027

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