By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has disclosed that increase in broadband penetration in Nigeria will impact the nation’s economy positively, saying more penetration will drive the digital economy agenda of the present administration.
He explained that more broadband penetration will propel the increase in the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and other positive indices which will pave way for the much needed diversification of the economy.
The Minister’s optimism came on the heels of the Executive Order signed by the Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, which reduced Right of Way charges in the state from N4,500 per meter to N145.
The Guild reports that Fayemi said that the move was aimed to encourage increased telecommunications investment and activity within the state and that implementation of the order would place Ekiti at the forefront of development, being the cheapest state for broadband infrastructure investment.
“This decision will ensure Ekiti achieves full broadband penetration by 2021 to attract new businesses, create jobs, improve access to quality healthcare and digital education while improving internally generated revenue. It is also aligned with the ongoing development of the Ekiti Knowledge Zone, designed to be Nigeria’s first service-based innovation park,” Fayemi had said.
But, Pantami, while commending Fayemi’s effort noted that not only the Executive Order No. 007 of 2020 on Right of Way Charges on Telecommunications Infrastructure be helpful to the state’s GDP, the country will also feel the impact of the decision by the Governor.
The Minister, through a statement released to newsmen by his Media aide, Uwa Suleiman, said urged other state governors to emulate Fayemi and increase broadband access in their respective states in the bid to increase the fortune of the nation’s economy.
He urged the governors to implement the 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.
According to him, implementing the resolution will aid the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) which was launched by President Buhari on the 19th of March 2020.
“This action of providing a policy backing to the Right of Way charges is truly commendable. It is also in consonance with the resolution of the State Governors under the auspices of the Governors’ Forum on the 22nd of January 2020 to address the lingering issue of Right of Way (RoW) charges in a bid to deepen broadband penetration in the country and promote a Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria.
“An increase in broadband access will have a positive impact on the economy of the various States as well as the entire country. One of the key benefits is the rapid growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) of any country that increases its broadband penetration. The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the importance of broadband in supporting economies around the world,” the statement read.