The Federal Government is waiving Right of Way (RoW) charges on its highways as part of measures for visible broadband deployment in furtherance of move for a digital economy.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, stated this yesterday during a webinar organised by MTN to support small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) affected by the novel coronavirus.
The waiver, which would subsist till December 2022, he added, was also to facilitate ease of doing business in Nigeria.
The minister said that the initiative is being pursued in partnership with the Ministry of Works and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
Pantami said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was doing everything to ensure that the most populous black nation transits successfully to a digital economy.
“Right of Way (RoW) charges will not be collected on federal highways from now till December 2022. It is part of the COVID-19 palliatives. This is also to aid the country’s digital development and the 70 per cent broadband target of 2025.This will equally assist SMEs in the country. It is pertinent that we make the environment conducive for business survival,” he stated.
He reiterated the need for state governments to support the advocacy, emphasizing that telecommunications operators should oppose anything above N145 per linear meter for broadband.
The minister said a consensus had been reached between his ministry and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to stick to the benchmark.
In his remarks, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo, acknowledged that the virus had adversely affected economies and businesses globally.
He, therefore, canvassed urgent measures to revive small and medium enterprises.
Appreciating the efforts of the telecoms sector in creating jobs and sustaining the economy, Adebayo said the industry, as at the first quarter of this year, contributed about 10.88 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with subscribers’ growth witnessing a 7.56 per cent leap in the last one year.
Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, said the initiative was to provide support to SMEs, as they lead Nigeria’s development quest.