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The Federal Government (FG) has queried some states against their decision to increase the Right of Way (RoW) charges levied Telcos, demanding reasons for the review. This came after some states increased the charges Telcos pay to lay fibre cable across the country.

The development, according to FG, is not in accordance with the rule laid by the National Economic Council, which states that the companies are expected to pay N145 per linear metre to lay the cable.

Demanding N3,000 or N6,000 for the same purpose has been described as unfair and counterproductive by the Federal Government. In a statement signed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, FG has urged the concerned states to reverse the decision to increase the charges.

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What you should know: The Right of Way (RoW) charges refer to fees paid by telecommunications operators to the government for permission to install some of their infrastructures.

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Why this matters: Pantami stated that if the charge was not reversed, the state governments would be undermining Nigeria’s socio-economic development, especially efforts to deepen broadband penetration in the country. Away from that, it would also lead to a higher cost of telecommunications services for the consumers.

Pantami words: “We are calling on all state governors, especially those that have made public their decision to increase the RoW charges, to reconsider these decisions in the interest of Nigerians as well as for the socio-economic growth and development of the country.

 “We also draw their attention that these decisions, if implemented, will result in an increase in the costs of operations of the telecoms operators which will naturally be passed to the consumers.

“We received with dismay the decision of some states of the federation to increase the Right of Way charges in disregard of the resolutions reached by the National Economic Council.

 “It may be recalled that in 2013, NEC set up a committee comprising state governors and ministers to review the issues of multiple taxations 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.

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 “Specifically, to deepen broadband penetration for the social and economic development of the country, the committee agreed to the uniform Right of Way charge of N145.00 per linear meter of fibre,” Pantami told Punch.

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