Group decry hike in RoW charges, says will derail digital economy progress

[files] Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), minister of Communications and Digital Economy. Photo: TWITTER/FMoCDENigeria

Digital Economy Media Support Volunteers (DEMS Volunteers’) have described as unpatriotic, unimaginable and counter-productive, the supposedly hike in the prices of the Right of Way (RoW) for the deployment of telecom infrastructure by some State Ministries and Agencies.

According to the Group, such a hike will derail digital economy progress currently being championed by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, led by Dr. Isa Ibrahim Ali (Pantami).

Recall that Thisday Newspaper had earlier on Monday, 06 January 2020, reported that Lagos, Kano, Anambra, Ondo, Cross River, Kogi, Osun, Kaduna, Enugu, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Imo, Kebbi and Gombe have hiked the cost of Right of Way (RoW) for telecoms infrastructure.

The Newspaper gathered that instead of the Federal Government’s N145 per linear meter, the states have actually increased the cost of RoW from their initial fee of between N300 to N500 per linear metre to between N3,000 and N6,000 per linear metre.

Reacting through a press statement in Lagos, DEMS Volunteers, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) majoring on every issue that has to do with concept of the digital economy in every sectors condemned the action of the Governors.

The statement, signed by Mr. Peter Oluka, director of Communications believes that the action of the Governors will truncate the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy’s effort towards reducing the cost of data and other telecom services, as a hike in RoW will naturally pass the additional cost to telecoms consumers.

DEMS Volunteers’ condemned “in strong terms, the action of the Governors. Hike in RoW will derail digital economy progress and postpone Nigeria’s quest for internet coverage of the country, which is the idea behind Buhari’s acceptance of the name change to include Digital Economy.”

While urging the Federal Government to call an emergency meeting involving the States and other critical stakeholders, to harmonise RoW charges across board, the statement also reminded the Governors that InfraCos should not be seen as money bags but promoters of technology which will even help States to achieve more economic progress on delivery.

The statement added that DEMS Volunteers, as a promoter of Digital Economy, is ready to partner with the Ministry and another advocacy group like ALTON, ATCON and even the industry regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission to reach out many states with the message of propagating digital economy across states.

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