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FG lack drive to convince states on enabling environment for telecoms investors’—BHIU

Latest report released by the Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU), has shown that contrary to efforts being made being claimed by the federal government in encouraging massive investments in ICT infrastructure, the apex government lacks the political will to convince states governments to provide soft landing for investors.

BHIU is the research division of Media Hilights Integrated Company Limited, publishers of Business Hilights.

This means that the move by the federal government to declare telecom infrastructure in the country as critical national and security assets which experts say is a move in the right direction may not see the light of the day after all.

Though vandalism remains a key factor, the report noted that “it is not the major drawback for telecoms investors especially the recently licensed Infrastructure Companies (Infracos) under the approved Open Access Model (OPM) in the deployment of broadband infrastructure across the nation”.

BHIU revealed that “Even though several Infracos if not all are ready to move to site to deliver broadband facilities, hostile tax and rates regime from states remain a strong discouraging factor capable of derail the targeted 30 per cent broadband penetration by year end.

“Apart from tax issues across the states which the federal government had not been able to make states understand that taxing is better after deliveries of the core broadband infrastructures than during the delivery period, there is the challenge of forex which the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) had not considered it needful to place telecoms on a special access window so as to encourage massive investments in telecoms infrastructure.

“Checks across the nation show that not much in terms of Infracos deliveries had been achieved within the first half of the year. This further gives credence to the emerging impression in stakeholders’ quarters that the 30 per cent broadband target will end up being a mirage at the end of the year.

Continuing, the BHIU report noted that “There had not been any form of Right of Way (RoW) review by many states and this has been the key challenge of Infracos in delivery not only last mile, but the metropolitan optic fibre cables that will not only drive broadband access, but deepen financial inclusion.

“Though there are signals that several moves by the federal government to convince states on issues of RoW have not yielded any good result, there is need to do more because without an enabling environment for Infracos, the economy will continue to suffer lopsided presence of data services which will not aid growth in the economy.