By Jessica Dogo
Abuja – State Governors under the auspices of the Governors’ Forum have resolved to address the lingering issue of Right of Way (RoW) charges in a bid to deepen broadband penetration in the country.
A statement signed by Dr Femi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant, Information Technology, to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, on Thursday in Abuja said that the governors also promised to promote a Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria.
It said that the resolution followed a presentation made by Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, during the meeting of the Governors’ Forum on Wednesday.
The statement noted that Pantami discussed the many benefits that an increase in broadband access could have on the economy of the various States.
The minister, the statement said, noted that one of the key benefits could be the rapid growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of any country that increased its broadband penetration.
The Minister urged the State Governors 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.
He reminded the governors that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 28, 2019.
He also urged the governors to key into the Policy and Strategy.
He also informed them of the plan of the Federal Government to help the states with a Digital Economy Strategy through Policy, Digital Skills and other areas of intervention.
Pantami thanked the Chairman and members of the Governors Forum for their support in resolving the RoW challenge.
In his response, the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, acknowledged the benefits of broadband penetration and promised to resolve the matter.
“There will no longer be any need to appeal to the Governors on the issue of RoW,” he said.
At the meeting were Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Also in attendance was Funke Opeke, Chairperson of the Presidential Committee on National Broadband Plan (2020-2025).