ICT: 5 more states interested in being `Smart States’, says minister

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LAGOS – The Minister of Communication Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson, on Friday said that five more states had indicated interest in becoming `Smart States’ in the country.

Johnson, who is also the Chairperson of Broadband Council, made this known in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

She said that the Broadband Council had extensively deliberated on the issue of the Smart States initiative for the growth of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry and the Nigerian economy.

According to Johnson, the initiative involves getting states to reduce or remove the Right of Way (RoW) charges and other related fees imposed on telecom by the .

“Five states have so far indicated interest in being Smart States. They are Gombe, Bayelsa, , Anambra and .

“Lagos and Cross River States are already considered well on their way to being Smart City States. Abuja is also in a great position to be smart,’’ she said.

The minister said the smart states strove to engage governors and relevant authorities at the state and federal levels to address the issue of multiple taxation.

She said the initiative would accelerate the roll out of critical infrastructure across the country.

The Lagos State Government had earlier signed an agreement with the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria to reduce the cost of RoW from N3,000 to N500 per metre.

The agreement showed a significant reduction of 85 per cent on the cost of RoW in Lagos.

The aim of the Smart States initiative is to ensure that effective are adopted to remove arbitrary charges and eradicate multiple taxations across the country.

conducted by the Ministry of Communication Technology had revealed that RoW charges, levies and taxes contributed about 70 per cent of the cost of rolling out telecom infrastructure in several states. (NAN)