Barely 72 hours after the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami said he had written all the state Governors in Nigeria to comply with the Federal Government N145 Right of Way charges, report emanating from a national Newspaper said 13 states, including Lagos, have hiked the cost of Right of Way (RoW) for telecoms infrastructure.
The Minister had told journalists at a press conference attended by all agencies under the Ministry in Abuja on Friday that he has written to all the governors in Nigeria on the need to comply with the National Economic Council (NEC) resolution on the Right of Way (RoW).
“All the Governors had agreed to the harmonisation on the RoW charges and efforts are being made to ensure the policy is respected,” he said.
The RoW charges is the levy paid to state governments for the laying of optic fibre by telecoms operators.
But less than three days after that assurance, the National Newspaper disputed that Minister’s claim, highlighting that Lagos, Kano, Anambra, Ondo, Cross River, Kogi, Osun, Kaduna, Enugu, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Imo, Kebbi and Gombe have hiked the cost of Right of Way (RoW) for telecoms infrastructure.
The Newspaper gathered that instead of the Federal Government’s N145 per linear meter, the states have actually increased the cost of RoW from their initial fee of between N300 to N500 per linear meter to between N3,000 and N6,000 per linear meter.
What this exposes is that the Governor, rather than complying are actually hiking RoW charges.
The implication is that the Minister’s effort towards reducing the cost of data and other telecom services may not work as the telecoms companies will naturally pass the additional cost being incurred to telecoms consumers.
Telecom operators in Nigeria have consistently blamed the poor telecoms services being experienced by subscribers on the refusal of the federal and state government agencies to grant them the RoW license to lay more fibre optic cables in cities.