Telecommunication companies in Lagos have been urged by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, to resist the hike in the Right of Way (RoW) tariffs.
The Minister said tariff hike was part of the agenda resolved when his team met with the Governor Kayode Fayemi-led, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Recall that, in 2013, Nigeria’s National Executive Council (NEC) made a resolution to bring RoW charges to a uniform price of ₦145 per metre. However, state governments, including Lagos, have not been uniform in their implementation.
14 states, which are: Lagos, Kano, Anambra, Ondo, Cross River, Kogi, Osun, Kaduna, Enugu, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Imo, Gombe, and Kebbi —, in January, hiked the charges up to between ₦3,000 ($8.27) and ₦6,000 per linear metre.
According to Pantami, the issues with RoW have been addressed with many governors signing Executive Orders to drastically reduce the cost per linear meter, while some have totally eradicated charging fees for the deployment of telecom infrastructure.
However, some states, have complied with the reduction. In May, Ekiti State, announced a reduction in RoW charges, with a 96 percent slash from ₦4,500 to ₦145.
Three other states — Katsina, Imo, and Plateau — followed suit. Kaduna and Anambra, on the other hand, completely waived charges altogether, while Kwara dropped it to ₦1 per linear metre.
Pantami pointed out that the RoW reduction charges should be adopted by every state in the country, in the interest of the people.
He said, “during the meeting we had with state governors, at least 34 governors were present and some represented. It was agreed that they will work with the N145 per linear meter instead of the arbitrary charges we have had. So, telecoms operators should resist any hike in RoW. There has been a general consensus with the Governors’ Forum.
He complained that prior to the resolution of the RoW issues, many operators disclosed they spent as much as 70 per cent of their investment in paying for right of way charges.
“Examples of amounts charged for RoW per linear metre in the past included N4,500 and N5,500, some states even charged about N16,000! To give a better illustration, for a particular state, the estimated cost of connecting two Local Government Areas was a staggering N560 million before the implementation of the RoW resolution, and now it costs just N150,000!,” he stated.
Further, Pantami said on its part, the government has made several strategic efforts to protect telecom investments in the country. He said the Federal Government is working with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to install unique identification (ID) on every infrastructure, which will enable security agencies to track and protect such infrastructure across Nigeria.
The Minister also used the meeting to challenge operators to always put the interest of consumers at heart, noting that when the interest of the subscribers is protected, the industry would be seen to be moving forward.
“Protecting the interest of the consumers, particularly the poor masses are top of our priority as a government. They require fairness from all of us. We must see them as kings because they really deserve the best,” he stated.Follow us on social media