NCC backs telcos over ₦145 right-of-way tax

NCC backs telcos over ₦145 right-of-way tax

NCC backs telcos over ₦145 right-of-way tax

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has defended telecoms companies (telcos) over the ₦145 per square metre right-of-way tax urging tiers of government to abide by the harmonised rate.

Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of  NCC says the National Economic Council’s (NEC) harmonisation of the ₦145 right-of-way tax has been approved and is applicable across Nigeria.

He made this statement while delivering his speech at the NCC Stakeholders’ Engagement Forum held recently at the Nigerian Air Force Officers’ Mess and Suites in Abuja.

“The rate captured in the National Economic Council report states what should be charged for deployment of information and communication infrastructure in any part of the country should be ₦145 “, the telecoms regulatory chief says.

Danbatta explains that the harmonized rate was not respected by unnamed state and local governments in the country.

“The rate captured in the National Economic Council report states what should be charged for deployment of information and communication infrastructure in any part of the country should be ₦145 “, the telecoms regulatory chief says.

Technology Times file photo shows mobile phone users seen in Computer Village, Ikeja

” We were very happy when at the meeting, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN recommended that resolution to the meeting of the Nigerian Economic Council which had in attendance all the governors in the Federation and the resolution was adopted and therefore we witnessed the harmonization of the rates from the arbitrary amount that were being charged before to the amount captured in the report which is a hundred and forty-five naira per metre length of fibre deployment”, Danbatta says.

Danbatta says the ₦145 rate is different from any repairs that may occur in the process of the deployment of the fibre itself, adding that the cost will have to be borne by the Infrastructural companies licenses in addition to the rate.

Danbatta says that NCC has received complaints made by the telecommunications companies that they were charged huge amounts ranging from ₦5,000 to ₦8,000.

According to the NCC boss, “there were instances where all these prohibited amount were charged and the telecommunications companies complained to Nigeria Communications Commission and urged us to ensure respect for their resolution of the National Economic Council which states ₦145 per metre length of fibre. “

On the issue of the access gaps, Danbatta says the gaps deprive 40 million Nigerians access to qualitative telecommunications services which causes communication divide in the country.

On the issue of the access gaps, Danbatta says the gaps deprive 40 million Nigerians access to qualitative telecommunications services which causes communication divide in the country.

Technology Times photo shows phone brands seen on display at Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos
Technology Times photo shows phone brands seen on display at Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos

Danbatta says the Federal Government recently established the Industrial Policy the VP’s Office with NCC “to ensure addition of 18,000km of fibre that will in turn raise the broadband penetration to 20 percent by the year 2020. NCC has put in place a broadband implementation monitoring committee to ensure employment of infrastructure needed.”

He said that the Commission intends to pay the Infracos subsidiaries to attain milestones as the monitoring committee will be responsible for the verification of licences.

“The good thing about the access problem is that we do know where the access gaps are. We have a domicile in the Commission that provides useful information about the location of these gaps. I think that is an important step towards bridging the gaps. So having established where the gaps are, the next step will be how to deploy solutions that will effectively bridge the gaps and ensure that 40 million Nigerians that do not have access to telecommunications services can now enjoy telecommunications services.”

He disclosed that the Commission has found the technology solutions that would bridge the identified gaps faster while adding that NCC has tried three pilots in three locations in Nigeria.

“We are very much satisfied that the rural technology solution can bridge the gaps in about two to three years. We have a provision in the Budget for about 20 of these rural technology solutions and immediately we implement this deployment, we will be able to see what remains of this access gaps”, Danbatta says.

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