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Pan African Towers CEO, Wole Abu reacts to Ekiti State Govt’s reduction of RoW Charges

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Wole Abu
CEO, Pan African Towers, Wole Abu
  • Says this will help the State Government achieve its goal of being the knowledge and innovation capital in Nigeria

The decision of the Ekiti State Government to significantly slash the charges for the Right of Way, is a welcome development for broadband penetration in the state, says the Chief Executive Officer of Pan African Towers, Wole Abu.

Mr. Abu who was responding to TechEconomy.ng’s interview regarding the State’s Executive Order slashing the right of way charges from N4,500 to N145, said “In fact, Governor Fayemi’s decision to implement the NEC approved price of N145 per metre will help reduce CAPEX for towercos with the funds redirected towards increasing more telecommunication infrastructure in the State.

“We are in a trying time where normalcy has been disrupted significantly and billions of dollars in revenue and millions of jobs have been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And so, we have got to restrategise into seeking how public and the private sector can collaborate to help each other out especially during these trying times”.

The PAT’s CEO, said Nigeria is currently lagging behind with an infrastructural deficit for broadband penetration estimated at over $135 billion.

“In fact, Nigeria has only managed to deploy 38,000 kilometres of fibre cables nationwide, leaving the country with a deficit of 82,000 kilometres which makes it very difficult for us to achieve massive broadband penetration in the country.

“We need fibre cable across about 120,000 kilometres across the country with an additional 41,000 base stations to the 39,000 base stations we currently have, if we are to achieve the country’s goal of pervasive broadband coverage in Nigeria.

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“From a fee of N4.5 million, telecommunication infrastructure companies will pay N145,000 per kilometre to lay fibre cables aground. This is a tremendous break for broadband providers as we could save cost, deploy more investments and also create more jobs for the people in Ekiti State. This single decision from the Ekiti State Government could trigger a ripple effect and cause other states to implement NEC’s approved charges for the Right of Way. This could mark the beginning of a new era in telecom infrastructure development. Filling the telecom infrastructural gap in Nigeria is a huge challenge as it requires access to long term loans and other funding arrangements to accommodate broadband projects in the country”.

Mr. Abu said that, apart from the funding, issues pertaining to the RoW continue to slow down projects across the nation as towercos find it difficult to scale up deployment and roll out broadband services in the country.

“The huge cost and bureaucracy of acquiring the right of way slows down infrastructural growth and development as charges upon charges continue to surface to impede roll out plans for telecom operators in the state.

“This Executive Order issued by the Governor of Ekiti State, will help the state to achieve its objectives of being the knowledge and innovation capital in Nigeria. A lot of people do not have access to the internet. So many rural areas are completely cut-off from the global world as a result of their inability to access connectivity in their local communities. Education will be poorly delivered as few people would have access to broadband connectivity, leaving the majority in the rural communities deprived of quality education. This decision will trigger a massive roll-out plan for telecom infrastructure companies with their aim of helping to provide rural telephony and broadband connectivity in rural areas that have been deprived access to these services for a long time. This will not only help to connect rural communities to the global world, it will also aid in providing job opportunities for a lot of the locals who could venture into new businesses and jobs in the state. This will also open up a new stream of revenue for Ekiti State as several business opportunities will be accessible to the citizens as this will attract huge capital projects and investments in the state.

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“We at Pan African Towers would like to commend the Ekiti State Government for setting the stage to this new era of telecom infrastructural development. We use this opportunity to call on the governments of the other states in Nigeria to emulate this gesture by the Ekiti State government and immediately implement the NEC approved charges for the Right of Way. If this is adhered to, it will improve the ease in which we do business in the country and it will also help to increase investments for fibre networks to be built across Nigeria.  This will help to fill the telecom infrastructural gap and help the country get closer to providing more connectivity for its citizens”, he said.

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