Wole Abu, CEO of Pan African Towers Commends Governor Kayode Fayemi for Implementing Right of Way Resolution.

Wole Abu is delighted to hear about the Executive Order No. 007 of 2020 on Right of Way Charges on Telecommunications Infrastructure that was signed by the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, CON, on the 12th of May, 2020.

The Executive Order shall “specifically target all sectors of Ekiti State including rural homes, farms, small businesses, manufacturing and production sites, transportation systems, and healthcare and educational facilities”. It is also noteworthy that the Order specifies that “Right of Way charges related to the laying of broadband or any other telecommunications infrastructure in Ekiti State shall not exceed N145 per linear metre”.

Abu said the decision of the Governor is an aooalaudable one as it will help the State Government achieve its goal of being the knowledge and innovation capital in Nigeria.

Fayemi adopted 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. Implementing this resolution will go a long way in implementing the National Broadband Plan (NBP) which was launched by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 19th of March 2020.

“We are in a trying time where normalcy has been disrupted significantly and billions of dollars in revenue and millions of jobs have been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And so, we have got to restrategise into seeking how public and the private sector can collaborate to help each other out especially during these trying times” said Abu. 

The PAT’s CEO, said Nigeria is currently lagging behind with an infrastructural deficit for broadband penetration estimated at over $135 billion.

“In fact, Nigeria has only managed to deploy 38,000 kilometres of fibre cables nationwide, leaving the country with a deficit of 82,000 kilometres which makes it very difficult for us to achieve massive broadband penetration in the country.

“We need fibre cable across about 120,000 kilometres across the country with an additional 41,000 base stations to the 39,000 base stations we currently have, if we are to achieve the country’s goal of pervasive broadband coverage in Nigeria.

“From a fee of N4.5 million, telecommunication infrastructure companies will pay N145,000 per kilometre to lay fibre cables aground. This is a tremendous break for broadband providers as we could save cost, deploy more investments and also create more jobs for the people in Ekiti State. 

He added that the decision from the Ekiti State Government could trigger a ripple effect and cause other states to implement NEC’s approved charges for the Right of Way. 

"This could mark the beginning of a new era in telecom infrastructure development. Filling the telecom infrastructural gap in Nigeria is a huge challenge as it requires access to long term loans and other funding arrangements to accommodate broadband projects in the country”.

Abu noted that apart from the funding, issues relating to the Right of Way continue to slow down projects across the nation as towercos find it difficult to scale up deployment and roll out broadband services in the country.

“The huge cost and bureaucracy of acquiring the right of way slows down infrastructural growth and development as charges upon charges continue to surface to impede roll out plans for telecom operators in the state.

“This Executive Order issued by the Governor of Ekiti State, will help the state to achieve its objectives of being the knowledge and innovation capital in Nigeria. A lot of people do not have access to the internet. So many rural areas are completely cut-off from the global world as a result of their inability to access connectivity in their local communities. 

"Education will be poorly delivered as few people would have access to broadband connectivity, leaving the majority in the rural communities deprived of quality education. This decision will trigger a massive roll-out plan for telecom infrastructure companies with their aim of helping to provide rural telephony and broadband connectivity in rural areas that have been deprived access to these services for a long time. 

"This will not only help to connect rural communities to the global world, it will also aid in providing job opportunities for a lot of the locals who could venture into new businesses and jobs in the state. This will also open up a new stream of revenue for Ekiti State as several business opportunities will be accessible to the citizens as this will attract huge capital projects and investments in the state.

“We at Pan African Towers would like to commend the Ekiti State Government for setting the stage to this new era of telecom infrastructural development. We use this opportunity to call on the governments of the other states in Nigeria to emulate this gesture by the Ekiti State government and immediately implement the NEC approved charges for the Right of Way. 

He said if the sector can adhered to the guidelines, it will improve the ease in which business are carried out in the country and will also help to increase investments for fibre networks to be built across Nigeria.


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