Home Big Story Right of Way: Ex-CommTech Minister, others thank Ekiti

Right of Way: Ex-CommTech Minister, others thank Ekiti

Right of Way: Ex-CommTech Minister, others thank Ekiti
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Nigeria’s pioneer Minister of Communication Technology has thanked Ekiti State Government for reducing the right of way charges on telecoms infrastructure to improve broadband penetration.

Dr Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State, had on May 12 signed the Executive Order No. 007 of 2020 on Right of Way Charges on Telecommunications Infrastructure which among others provides that laying telecoms cable “shall not exceed N145 per linear metre” as part of an ambitious plan to be the cheapest State for broadband investments in Nigeria.

The Ekiti State Government Right of Way of way concession has attracted commendation from telecoms industry stakeholders, including Dr. Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s pioneer CommTech Minister.

The ex-Minister of CommTech who says “we spent a lot of time & energy with State Governors advocating for this” before Lagos and Bayelsa States came on board” reckons that Fayemi “can convince his colleagues to follow suit.”

Dr Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s pioneer CommTech Minister.
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Right of way cut will boost broadband in Ekiti State says Dr. Omobola Johnson seen in Technology Times file photo as Minister of Communication Technology

On her watch as Minister of Communication Technology Ministry (now renamed Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy), Johnson initiated the Smart State Initiative to balance the interest of State Governments across Nigeria with those of commercial telecoms operators, particularly in contentious areas of revenue generation, arbitrary taxes and obtaining approvals for laying fibre-optic cables, installation of base stations, among others.

In a Twitter post, Johnson thanked Governor Fayemi and the Ekiti State Government for the Right of Way charge reduction.

But Governor Fayemi, who is also Chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum (NGF), a collaborative platform for Executive Governors on matters of public policy established to promote good governance, sharing of good practice and to enhance cooperation at the State level and with other arms of government and society, needs to do more, the ex-Minister suggests.

The ex-Minister of CommTech who says “we spent a lot of time & energy with State Governors advocating for this” before Lagos and Bayelsa States came on board” reckons that Fayemi “can convince his colleagues to follow suit.”

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Johnson initiated the Smart State Initiative to balance the interest of State Governments across Nigeria with those of commercial telecoms operators, particularly in contentious areas of revenue generation, arbitrary taxes and obtaining approvals for laying fibre-optic cables, installation of base stations, among others.

Johnson says in another Twitter post that “The benefits of ubiquitous, fast and affordable connectivity are very compelling.”

According to a statement, Governor Fayemi’s signing of the Executive Order is “a bold and pioneering move to make Ekiti State the knowledge and innovation capital of Nigeria.”

Mr. Akin Oyebode, Special Adviser Investment, Trade and Innovations, Ekiti State, says “this decision will ensure Ekiti achieves full broadband penetration by 2021 to attract new businesses, create jobs, improve access to quality healthcare and digital education while improving internally-generated revenue.”

Right of Way: Inside the Ekiti State Executive Order #007 of 2020

Right of Way: Ex-CommTech Minister, others thank Ekiti 1
Right of Way: Ex-CommTech Minister, others thank Ekiti 2
Right of Way: Ex-CommTech Minister, others thank Ekiti 3

“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 is the rapid growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) of any country that increases its broadband penetration. The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the importance of broadband in supporting economies around the world.”

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigeria.

The move also aligned with the ongoing development of the Ekiti Knowledge Zone, designed to be Nigeria’s first service-based innovation park.

According to him, “Ekiti is the first state in Nigeria to comply with the National Executive Council (NEC) approved Right of Way charges for broadband thus becoming the cheapest state for broadband infrastructure investment as 1km of cable will now cost just N145,000 as against N4.5m previously.”

Oyebode says the Executive Order “is part of the ongoing reforms by the Ease of Doing Business project inaugurated by the Governor last year to improve indices that will make Ekiti State an attractive destination for national and international investments in 5 years.”

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has also commended the Executive Order by the Ekiti State Government.

“This action of providing a policy backing to the Right of Way charges is truly commendable. It is also in consonance 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 Minister says in a statement.

Right of Way: Ex-CommTech Minister, others thank Ekiti 4
Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy (left) seen in photo with Governor Fayemi of Ekiti State, wants other Executive Governors “to emulate this action in order to accelerate broadband penetration across the country.”

According to Ibrahim, 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 N145.00 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”, the Minister says.

“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 is the rapid growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) of any country that increases its broadband penetration. The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the importance of broadband in supporting economies around the world.”

The Minister who commended Fayemi over what he cites as a “landmark action” used the occasion of the World Telecommunications Day “to encourage other Executive Governors to emulate this action in order to accelerate broadband penetration across the country.”

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