Right of Way roadblocks slow Nigeria broadband targets


Fibre connectivity

from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
LAGOS, (CAJ News) – AN economist has urged authorities to address delays and difficulties in obtaining the right of way (RoW) for laying fibre optic cables if Nigeria is to meet its broadband penetration target of 70 percent by 2025.

Broadband penetration is at 45,6 percent according to latest figures
provided by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). This is a slight
increase from 44,4 percent recorded in the corresponding period of 2022.

Despite a resolution in 2020 by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum that
telecommunications operators should pay a RoW fee of N145 (US$0,16) per
linear metre of fibre, a majority of states have been reluctant to implement
the pledge.

Some state governments still charge operators the equivalent of $9 per

While notably, only Ekiti, Kaduna, most recently Nasarawa and Plateau have
opted for zero charges, 32 other states have reneged on the resolution of

On a somewhat positive note, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), which is
the seat of government where the capital Abuja is located, had disclosed a
charge of N14,50 per linear metre RoW charges.

This is a 90 percent reduction from the regular fee in 2022.

Chinwe Egim, the Chief Economist at the Coronation Merchant Bank (CMB) said this “roadblock” must be addressed as it was slowing down broadband

“Effectively mitigating RoW challenges in Nigeria demands a nuanced,
strategic approach,” she advised.

Egim told CAJ News Africa streamlining regulatory frameworks and
establishing transparent fee structures were imperative to diminish
unnecessary delays and financial uncertainties for infrastructure

“Additionally, introducing digital platforms for RoW processes aligns with
global best practices, enhancing administrative efficiency and minimizing
bureaucratic hurdles,” she added.

“Engaging stakeholders through sustained dialogue and community
sensitization becomes paramount, fostering a collaborative environment
conducive to infrastructure development.”

The economist said public-private partnerships should be strategically
leveraged, with a focus on incentivising private sector involvement in
broadband deployment.

“The creation of standardized RoW agreements and dedicated task forces can institutionalize efficient decision-making processes, ensuring consistency and fair negotiations.”

Nigeria, the West African country, is the continent’s largest economy by
gross domestic product (GDP) and population, estimated at 226 million.

– CAJ News





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