‘Excessive taxation, RoW issues undermining national broadband target’
• FG seeks state governors’s support
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami has appealed to state governors to address the problems of multiple and excessive taxation, as well as right of way, citing them as obstacles to realisation of the 2020-2025 National Broadband target.
He stated that Nigeria cannot attain economic development, or achieve security and safety without an effective broadband coverage.
Meanwhile, statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) shows that 152.3 million people, representing 79. 8 percent of Nigerians have access to the Internet while 85,232, 000 representing 44.68 percent of Nigerians have access to broadband as at September 26th , 2022.
Speaking at the 2022 Broadband Technical Awareness Forum for Governors with the theme, “State Broadband Coordinating Councils: Potentials and Possibilities organised by the NCC at the weekend in Abuja, Pantami observed that it will be difficult for the Federal government to achieve its broadband plan without the support of the state governments.
Pantami observed that access to broadband is no longer a luxury but a necessity as broadband is necessary for security, education and economic development among others.
The minister stated that Nigeria has learnt bitter lessons from the outbreak of Covid-19, when countries with effective broadband penetration were virtually conducting their lectures but countries like Nigeria had to shut down their institutions.
Pantami noted that the Federal government launched the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 and since the launching of the plan, the government has been with all stakeholders to deepen broadband penetration in the country.
He said that a research conducted by the World Internet Forum showed that 10 percent increase in broadband penetration will increase the GDP of a country by 2.5 percent, and in some countries, 8.9 percent, adding that the increase in broadband penetration in Nigeria is directly reflecting in our GDP since 2019 to date.
Earlier, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta said that the Federal government is empowering the citizens to have equitable access to the Internet. Broadband infrastructure is basic infrastructure like power, water and others.
He noted that the global broadband infrastructure ecosystem has shown that countries with the best broadband infrastructure have the best GDP per capita.
On his part, Chairman Board of Commissioners NCC, Prof Adeolu Akande in his remarks said, “the world is going digital and Nigerians can’t afford to be left behind.
He further harped on the need to strengthen collaboration between FG and States.