Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, has said that by 2025, due to interventions of the Buhari administration, prices of data and telecommunications services will not be more than 40% of what it is today.
The minister, while addressing reporters on Monday in Abuja, said the government has addressed two critical challenges in the telecommunications industry – Right of Way (RoW) charges and infrastructural protection – which he said will reduce the cost of operations of telecom companies, thereby reducing the cost of data.
Pantami said: ‘Previously, the charges for Right of Way in some states was 10,000naira, and others 6,000naira. But with this intervention of the government, it’s now a maximum 145naira only. Look at the gap, from 10,000naira per meter to a maximum of 145naira per meter. Some states even made it 1naira now, and others even completely waved it.
‘So with this, it is a clear indication that we need to come together and make the environment conducive for investments and also encourage these operators by such interventions so that the prices that they charge can be reduced. With all these interventions we ensure that before the end of 2025, our target is for data to not be more than 40% of what we purchase today.’
He went on to explain that the reason telecom companies charge the way they do is because they have previously had to bear the cost of protection of telecom infrastructure. He, however, assured that since President Buhari has granted permission for such infrastructures to be protected by government security agencies, the burden will be eased from telecos which will in turn, reduce the cost for Nigerians.
Pantami added that improvement on infrastructure has pushed up broadband penetration from 30 percent to 40.18 within his first 1 year in office. He asserted that it was part of the policy measures taken by the Federal Government to promote digital economy.
Earlier in June, the minister had said that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) had been notified of the president’s directives on the protection of telecom infrastructure.