THE Federal Government and telecoms companies on Tuesday warned that the decision of some state governors to hike right of way (RoW) charges will decelerate economic growth and rubbish the gains made in the past.
In a statement, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Ali Pantami expressed dissatisfaction over the decision of the governors to disregard the resolution of the National Economic Council (NEC) on RoW charges in the telecom industry.
Also, the telcos, acting under the aegis of Association of Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ATCON) warned that the socio-economic development of the states is not mutually exclusive to broadband infrastructure development.
The group said it is aware that the state governments are passionate about improving life expectancy, literacy and level of employment in their respective states.
“With friendly business environment for telecom companies, all these goals can be achieved on the condition that RoW charge is not inimical to the spread of broadband infrastructure development,” the group said.
According to the minister, the action of the governors would be counter-productive to plans by the government to deepen broadband penetration and attract investment into the sector.
Pantami said it was wrong for some of the governors to have increased RoW charge by 1200 per cent against the agreed charge of N145 per linear meter of fibre.
“We received with dismay the decision of some states of the Federation to increase the RoW charges in disregard of the resolutions reached by the NEC,” he said.
He frowned at the flagrant disregard for the resolutions of NEC and advised the governors to reconsider their position in the interest of the country’s economy.
Pantami said: “It may be recalled that in 2013, NEC set up a Committee comprising state governors and ministers to review the issues of multiple taxation in the telecommunications industry in Nigeria and its impact.
“The committee, after extensive and wide-ranging consultations, resolved to harmonise the taxes applicable to broadband related activities and streamline the taxation management processes across the federation.