The federal government has condemned what it described as state governments’ disregard of right of way (RoW) charge agreement reached by the National Economic Council (NEC) by increasing the RoW charges in disregard of NEC resolutions.
In a statement he issued yesterday, Isa Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy, said the decision of some states to increase the Right of Way charges was in disregard of the resolutions reached by NEC.
Reports indicated thatsome agencies, ministries, of no fewer than 14 states 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.
The cost of RoW on federal roads is N145 per linear metre.
Some of the agencies and ministries include, the Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA), State Information Technology Agency (SITA) of Ondo, Cross River State Infrastructure Safety and Regulatory Agency (CRISRA), Kogi State Environmental Protection Board and Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority.
Others are: Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KSIRS), Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KASUPDA), Osun State Ministry of Environment and Sanitation, Anambra State Internal Revenue Services, Enugu State Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Adamawa State Ministry of Environment, Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission (Imo ENTRACO), Kebbi State Ministry of Environment and Solid Minerals and Gombe State Internal Revenue Board.
Some of the states have reportedly refused to collect the old rates for RoW and were no longer issuing RoW licences in their various states.
The minister recalled that in 2013, NEC set up a committee comprising state governors and ministers to review the issue of multiple taxations in the telecommunications industry in Nigeria and the impact.
The minister said the committee, after extensive and wide-ranging consultations, resolved to harmonise the taxes applicable to broadband-related activities and streamline the taxation management processes nationwide.
According to him, as part of the efforts to deepen broadband penetration for the social and economic development of the country, the committee agreed to the uniform RoW charge of N145 per linear metre of fibre.
He added that in October 2019, the federal government wrote all governors, drawing their attention to the resolutions and soliciting their support towards the realisation of the National Digital Economy by fast-tracking the deployment of broadband infrastructure for the provision of affordable internet services to underserved and unserved areas.
“It is true that the digital economy today is strategically dominating the world economy. Oxford Economics puts the current value of the digital economy at $11.5 trillion, which is about 16 per cent of the world economy.