Anambra Partners FG On “Smart State” Initiative

KayCee
By KayCee August 12, 2014 07:13

THE Federal Government is to partner with the Anambra State government in the roll out of critical ICT infrastructure across the state in order to position it as one of the smart states in the country.

 The Ministry of Communication Technology and the Broadband Council chaired by Dr Omobola Johnson, is promoting a “Smart State” initiative geared at engaging governors and relevant authorities at the state and federal level to address the issue of multiple taxation impeding the acceleration of the roll out of critical infrastructure across Nigeria.
 In a statement in Abuja, the Special Adviser to the Minister of Communication Technology, Efem Nkanga, noted that the main aim of the smart states initiative is to ensure that effective measures are adopted to remove arbitrary charges and eradicate multiple taxations across the nation.
 She explained that the initiative will cover the following- Standardized fees for site building and approvals within the state, reduction in fees and possibility of waiver for Right of Way (RoW) in deserving instances, implementation of a Dig-Once Policy, promotion of collocation between operators in the State and connectivity to state institutions within a kilometer of the given RoW.
 According to her, Anambra is one of the smart states selected by the Broadband Council to facilitate ICT infrastructure rollout critical for development. Other Smart states selected by the Broadband Council include Bayelsa, Gombe, Katsina and Ondo. Lagos has already reduced ROW charges by 85 per cent. Bayelsa has already signed an MoU on the smart state initiative.
 Nkang observed that the agreement with Anambra will foster an enabling environment for the deployment of Communications Infrastructure that will lead to a reduction in the cost of network deployment and an increase in the rollout of such networks to commercial centers, underserved and rural areas by Communications Operators.
 In so doing, an enabling environment will be created that will increase broadband penetration -both fixed and mobile and increase access to such services at affordable prices for customers, creating digitally enabled urban areas called ‘Smart Cities’.
 Those states that provide such an enabling environment will be labelled ‘Model States’ and afforded the utmost support in achieving these objectives. In exchange participating states can expect to see growth in economic activity and productivity and subsequently the positive development of the State.
 Recall that the Ministry is working to ensure that the bottlenecks that mitigate service quality delivery are removed. To tackle quality of service issues in the industry, the Ministry in partnership with the Ministry of Works developed new Right of Way RoW guidelines for Federal Government roads to enable operators have unencumbered means of laying fibre optics which is critical for infrastructure development and quality of service.
 To remove arbitrary charges and eradicate multiple taxations that impede telecoms development across the nation, the Ministry for the first time in the history of Nigeria’s telecoms revolution got state governors and relevant authorities at the state and federal level to address the issue of multiple taxation and adopt measures that will remove arbitrary charges and eradicate multiple taxations to enhance service delivery across the nation.
 A landmark agreement with the Lagos state government facilitated by the Ministry was brokered to address issues of RoW, base station deployment etc. Cost of RoW was slashed from 3000 to 500- a reduction of 85 per cent.
 The Ministry is working replicate this in other states by convincing other state governors and relevant authorities at the state level to eliminate multiple taxation and adopt measures that will remove arbitrary charges and enhance telecoms service delivery.
 An assessment of the deployment of ICT infrastructure revealed that almost 70 percent of deployment cost was spent on processing ROW; taxes and levies on infrastructure.

The ministry strongly believes that the elimination of multiple taxes will result in cost effective, accelerated and massive deployment of ICT infrastructure across the country, which will enhance quality delivery issues currently being experienced by telecoms subscribers.

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KayCee
By KayCee August 12, 2014 07:13