Danbatta Calls For Harmonisation Of The Right of Way Policy.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta called on the federal government to ensure that all the 36 states governments of the federation adhere to the resolution of the national economic council on the right of way charges, which stipulates N145 per meter for laying fibre network in every part of the country.

Harmonisation of the policy, according to Danbatta will help Nigeria meet the 120 kilometres of fibre network interconnection across the country needed to achieve a pervasive broadband penetration.

“The Right of Way issue is something that refuses to go away despite the existence of a document guiding what should be charged. Currently, nobody is complying with the provision of that document,” he lamented.

“We cannot compel the state governments to charge N145 per meter for fibre. The federal government can, however, meet with the governors and extract a commitment from them, to ensure that NEC’s provision is strictly adhered to.”

L-R: Edirin Akemu, leader of the Delegation; Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC/CEO of NCC; Bako Wakil, Deputy Director Technical Standards and Network Integrity (TSNI) NCC and Spiff Initimi, Head Legislative and Government Relations (LGR) NCC

He regretted that only 38,000 kilometres have been covered so far while another 120, 000km is needed to have the kind of broadband access other countries developed their economies with. He spoke to a delegation from Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council that visited his office. He noted that the only way out was for the Federal Government to ensure that all the 36 states of the federation adhere to the resolution of National Economic Council on the Right of Way charges, which stipulates N145 per meter for laying fibre network in every part of the country. He said: “The Right of Way issue refuses to go away despite the existence of a document guiding charges. Currently, nobody is complying with the provision of that document. ”We cannot compel the state governments to charge N 145 per meter for fibre. But the Federal Government can meet with the governors and extract a commitment from them, to ensure that NEC’s provision is strictly adhered to,” he added.

He, however, called for more Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capacity building in the country in order to fully take advantage of the digital transformation that is taking place in the world; otherwise, the efforts will be in vain if there is no critical mass to drive the digital revolution.

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