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Lagos rejects FG peg, insists fibre-laying firms pay N1500/m

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General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of LASIMRA, Funsho Elulade

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Lagos State Government has said it will not honour Federal Government’s appeal that telecoms firms, currently laying fibres round the country, should pay N145 per linear metre. It, instead, insists that the firms should pay N1,500 for Right of Way (RoW).

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It made its position known through Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA). LASIMRA stressed that the FG’s stance on N145 per linear metre was only advisory, not a directive.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Issa Pantami, had insisted that telcos should reject any hike in RoW by states. He stressed that there was an agreement between the ministry and the NGF on N145 per linear metre

Speaking with The Guardian, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of LASIMRA, Funsho Elulade, said he was surprised some people argued that the cost should be brought down.

Elulade, an engineer, aware that Ekiti, Kaduna, Imo, and Plateau states, among others, have slashed their charges, said: “We are not looking at that because it is not a law, it is advice. I am so surprised that people are raising it now. This was part of the National Economic Council (NEC) resolution in 2013. So, it is not a new thing. The cost of doing business in Jigawa or Ondo State is not the same thing as in Lagos.

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“The Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) wrote the Governor of Lagos State and he sent the letter to me for comments. I replied that it was not possible. I gave all the parameters why Lagos would not do N145 and we stuck to our N1,500 per linear metre. Also, in the same NEC resolution, it was written that by 2014, I am entitled to be charging N50 per linear metre on all the cables laid. LASIMRA (and Lagos State) has not charged it. So, you see that I have money outside to collect.”

The LASIMRA boss said the state was working to separate quacks from professionals in the sector, the reason it was working to get telecoms operators in the state registered. He said the state was on the verge of ensuring that RoW approvals were automated.

Elulade, however, said the ongoing fibre cable installation was part of initiatives to make the state smart. He said the project was part of the 6000-kilometre fibre cable infrastructure, targeted at strengthening connectivity across the state.

THE project, he added, is divided into two phases, each having 3000km fibre infrastructure to be deployed.“We are doing the first phase because the present administration wants to make sure it operates a smart city within this administration. The contract is for 24 months; it started in April but COVID-19 slowed it down, so we could say it started May-June. And as of today, we are well ahead of schedule as over 1500 kilometres of fibre duct has been laid.

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