Business Hilights
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Minister, NGF keep InfraCos, MNOs incommunicado over real stand on RoW fees

Following the observed silence of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to match action with words on its assurance that all issues relating to exorbitant charges on Right of Way (RoW) for telecoms Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) and main network operators (MNOs) have been resolved, more telecoms and industry players have continued to decry the costs of doing business in the sector.

Only recently, the Director of Corporate Communications & CSR, Airtel Nigeria, Emeka Opara, who spoke with journalists in Lagos recently called on the federal and state governments to hasten the approval process for Right of Way (RoW) for fibre deployment as well as quicken the Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) approval process.

According to him, these actions would help solve the problem of network congestion and network failure.

While pleading with the authorities, Okpara argued that delaying a clear decision on RoW by governors remains a strong drawback to the digital economy campaign of the present administration.

Business Hilights recalls that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, had on Thursday afternoon, 16 January 2020 met with the Governor of Ekiti State, who doubles as the Chairman of the NGF, Dr. Kayode Fayemi in Abuja.

Though NGF assured that governors have resolved all the teething issues, industry observers said for more than one month after the meeting with the Minister, there had been nothing to show NGF’s seriousness.

In January, there was outrage via social media reports that about fourteen States allegedly increased Right of Way (RoW) charges by over 1200%.

The State according to this report, include Lagos, Kano, Anambra, Ondo, Cross River, Kogi, Osun, Kaduna, Enugu, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Imo, Kebbi and Gombe.

The report further revealed that MDAs of some of these States have increased the cost of RoW from the initial fee of between N300 to N500 per linear metre to between N3,000 and N6,000 per linear metre, which represented not less than 1200% increments.

Bearing in mind that the Federal Government had repeatedly expressed dismay at the State Governments’ disregard of RoW and issues concerning price per linear meter agreement, it has become pertinent for the Dr Fayemi led NGF to open up on the real stand of his group so that telecom investors can be able to take their final investment decisions (FID) in delivering fibre broadband infrastructure.​​

Industry experts say the waiting game has taken too long a time after all.