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FCT Minister reduces Right of Way charges for telecos by 90%

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Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello, has announced that telecommunications operators who want to deploy broadband infrastructure in green areas will only have to pay N14.50 as Right of Way (RoW) charges.

Bello said that the new discounted charges would take effect from December 1, 2022, and run for the next two years.

He disclosed this during the official launch of some projects approved by the Federal Executive Council under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in Abuja.

What are green areas? Bello said that green areas were places lacking any telecommunication infrastructure in the FCT. He said:

  • “As a part of our contribution to broadband communication, from December 1, 2022, for the next two years, the FCT will charge only N14.50 per linear data for all telecommunications companies that want to deploy broadband in the FCT in green areas. Green areas are areas where we have not already established the infrastructure on the ground.”

Harmonised RoW charges: The Right of Way charge has been fraught with inconsistencies across the states in terms of charges and has negatively impacted broadband infrastructure.

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To harmonize the Right of Way charges for broadband infrastructure investment, the Federal Government of Nigeria, in 2017, approved a policy, which resulted in a harmonized RoW Charge Agreement reached with all the governors of the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT.

  • Before the harmonisation, the telecom operators had been paying various sums, ranging from N4,000 to N8,000 per metre, in different parts of the country, with such high and arbitrary charges seen as a disincentive to investment in the sector.
  • Following the harmonisation, the telecom operators are required to pay N145 per metre to lay fibre cable anywhere in the country.
  • The N14.50 fee for green areas by the FCT minister is a 90% reduction from the regular N145 per meter charges.
  • Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, assured that he was working assiduously to improve internet speed and reduce its cost in Nigeria in line with the National Broadband Plan 2020–2025.
  • He said the Federal Government had approved over N16 billion for broadband infrastructure projects at 18 universities in the country’s six geopolitical zones.

What you should know: Right of Way charge refers to a levy paid by telecommunication companies to state governments, permitting telecommunication companies to dig up the roads and install telecommunications hardware such as optic fibre cables that carry internet traffic.

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El-Rufai claims ‘elements’ in are presidency working against APC because they lost primaries

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has claimed that some individuals within the Presidency, who are aligned with a candidate that lost an election primary, are now working against the APC.

Disclosing this during an interview with Channels TV on Wednesday morning, the governor cited the failure to remove the fuel subsidy as an outcome of the impasse within the party.

He noted that the Governors and Presidency earlier agreed to remove the subsidy in 2021. However, the Presidency did a U-turn on the agreement.

Clashing views: Speaking further, the Governor said that he has stopped trying to understand how the Federal Government works anymore following differing views on major fiscal and economic policy issues.

  • “For the past 3-4 years I have stopped trying to understand how FG works. I focus on how to make my state works because that is how my state works. There are some things we sit and agree with the President to get done, and it does not get done, and those that refused to get it done don’t get punished.”

Internal sabotage: He added that the APC never promised to keep the fuel subsidy going. Unfortunately, the alleged saboteurs within the party have made it impossible to remove it. He said:

and also redesign the currency, urging that many members of the Presidency are not members of the party.

  • “The APC never promised we are going to keep fuel subsidy. We never did. We never promised to redesign the currency. You need to separate the personal decisions of some people in the Presidency from the manifesto of the party. Most of them ( Presidency) are not members of the party.”

He said he believes there is a division between members of the Presidency and the Campaign council, stating, ” I believe there are elements in the villa that wants us to lose the election because they did not get their way, they and their candidate and he did not win the primaries, they are still getting us to lose the elections, they are hiding behind the President’s desire to do what he thinks is right

He noted the Petroleum subsidy costing the country was something the party agreed to be removed, adding he spoke to the Presidency back in 2021, who was convinced, but later changed his mind.

What you should know: Recall that Vice President Yemi Osinabjo contested the presidential primaries of the ruling APC last year. But he came in 3rd place behind Bola Tinubu and Rotimi Amaechi.

Highlighted below is how the delegates voted-

  • Bola Ahmed Tinubu received 1271 votes
  • Ahmed Lawan – 152 votes
  • Rochas Okorocha – 0 vote
  • Tunde Bakare – 0 vote
  • Ben Ayade – 37 votes
  • Yahaya Bello – 47 votes
  • Yemi Osinbajo – 235 votes
  • Rotimi Amaechi – 316 votes

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Tinubu again slams Buhari’s administration for moving exchange rate to about N800/$1

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The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) has criticized the management of Nigeria’s foreign exchange market which has led to the depreciation of the naira, in what appears to be an attack on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The recent attack is coming some days after he criticized the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s naira redesign policy and the current fuel scarcity in major cities across the country, alleging that they are part of the plots to sabotage his victory at the forthcoming presidential election.

This was made known on Tuesday evening, January 31, 2023, by Tinubu, while addressing the crowd at APC’s presidential campaign rally in Calabar, Cross River State.

Tinubu, while delivering his speech slammed the federal government for taking the exchange rate from about N200 to a dollar to about N800 a dollar in the black market.

They don’t know how to think

  • The former Lagos State Governor said, “To change and the torture, they moved the exchange rate from doing N200 to N800. If they had repaired it, if they had arrested this, we won’t be where we are today, we would be greater.  “They don’t know the way, they don’t know how to think, they don’t know how to do.’’

For catch up

Recall that about a week ago, Bola Tinubu, at the APC’s presidential campaign rally in Abeokuta, Ogun State, added a new twist to the current fuel scarcity across the country and the decision of the CBN to redesign the N200, N500 and 1,000 banknotes, alleging that they were planned to sabotage his victory at February presidential election by people in the current administration.

  • Tinubu said, “We will use our PVCs to take over government from them. If they like let them create a fuel crisis, even if they say there is no fuel, we will trek to vote. They are full of mischief; they could say there is no fuel. They have been scheming to create a fuel crisis, but forget about it. Relax, I Asiwaju, have told you that the issue of fuel supply will be permanently addressed.
  • “Whoever wants to eat the honey embedded in a mountain won’t worry about the axe. Is that not so? And if you want to eat palm kernel, you would bring stone and use it to break it, then the kernel will come out.
  • “Let them increase the fuel price, let them continue to hoard fuel, only them know where they have hoarded fuel, they hoarded money, they hoarded naira; we will go and vote and we will win even if they changed the ink on naira notes. Whatever their plans, they will come to nought. We are going to win. Those in the PDP will lose.

However, Tinubu, in a clarification, faulted reports in certain quarters that his statement was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

In a statement through the Director, Media and Publicity of APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga, Tinubu maintained that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in cahoots with fifth columnists, were the ones bent on inflicting avoidable pains on hapless Nigerians to achieve political ends.

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Tax Credit: NNPC says phase 2 of infrastructure funding scheme to cost N1.9 trillion

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited says it will invest the sum of N1.9 trillion in the second phase of the tax credit scheme for infrastructure development.

This was disclosed by Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, who was represented by Mr Umar Ajiya, at a meeting with the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme enables companies with high tax profiles to construct roads in a negotiated agreement with the federal government to provide the infrastructure instead of taxes.

Second Phase: Kyari noted that as phase 1 of the scheme rolls out, the NNPC is committed to investing N1.9 trillion for the second phase, he said:

  • “Clearly as you recall we have done phase 1 and funding has been steady, we are now committed to a second phase of N1.9 trillion and we are also committed to setting aside funds to fund the contractors including any necessary mobilisation that could be required.
  • “What is important for us is that our consultants will have to validate the value for money and the quality of work that you’ve done on these roads.”

Good quality: He added that NNPC wants to maintain good quality standards of roads under the second phase.

  • “I think that our road users alluded to the fact that they have seen extensive quality work being done on the roads that have been assigned during phase 1.
  • “We want the same quality to be maintained because of the execution of the roads under phase 2, and speaking of execution is very important because the funds are available and therefore there should be no excuse.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Muhammed Nami, said the FG has existing and future tax capabilities based on the estimate received by the FIRS that will be able to provide Nigerians with enough funds as payments are due and confirmed, he added:

  • “The gains of phase 1 have been evaluated, some of the roads that we were speeding through were roads constructed over 40 years ago and to God be the glory through these executive orders they are now being fixed.
  • “There are generally benefits for paying taxes because global civilisation is made possible through the taxes being paid.
  • “We continue to appeal to Nigerians and particularly the big taxpayers to continue to trust this executive 007 so that they will continue to provide critical infrastructure that our country so dearly needed for our people to move goods and products from one location.”

What you should know: Recall that in October 2021, the Federal Government approved the reconstruction of the collapsed Lagos-Badagry expressway and 20 other federal roads by the newly incorporated Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited.

  • The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who made the announcement, said the approval which was given at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, would see NNPC take over the reconstruction of 1,804.6 kilometres-long 21 federal roads in critical conditions across the 6 geopolitical zones of the country at a whopping sum of N621.2 billion.
  • The reconstruction of these roads would be executed via a strategic intervention under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure and Refreshment Tax Credit Scheme with 9 of the selected projects in North-central, 3 in North-east, 2 in North-west, 2 in South-east, 3 in South-south, and 2 in South-west.
  • The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited last year pledged to provide an additional N1 trillion for road projects across Nigeria under the Federal Government’s road infrastructure and refreshment tax credit scheme.

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