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Pantami frowns on Ganduje, 13 other govs for raising tariff on telecoms infrastructure

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Nasiru Yusuf

The federal government has expressed dismay over the decision of some states to increase the ‘Right of Way’ charges in disregard of the resolutions reached by the National Economic Council (NEC).

Kano Focus reports that 14 states including Kano, Lagos, Anambra, Ondo, Cross River, Kogi, Osun, Kaduna, Enugu, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Imo, Kebbi and Gombe, have hiked the cost of Right of Way (RoW) for telecoms infrastructure.

Although, the cost of RoW on federal roads is N142 per linear metre, many states have increased the cost of RoW from the initial fee of between N300 to N500 per linear metre to between N3,000 and N6,000 per linear metre.

This newspaper understands that one of the agencies responsible for the increase in the RoW charges is the Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA).

The implications

Telecoms operators across networks had blamed the poor telecoms service currently being experienced by subscribers on the refusal of state government agencies to grant the operators the RoW licence to lay more fibre optic cables in cities.

Telecoms subscribers have continued to face networks challenges, ranging from incessant drop calls and poor connectivity, to delays in delivering text messages, among others.

A statement issued by the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami on Tuesday called on state governors, especially those that have made public their decisions to increase the RoW charges, to reconsider these decisions in the interest of Nigerians as well as for the socio-economic growth and development of the country.

Mr Pantami noted that, these decisions, if implemented, will result in an increase in the costs of operations of the telecoms operators which will naturally be passed to the consumers.

The minister recalled that in 2013, National Economic Council (NEC) set up a committee comprising state governors and ministers to review the issues of multiple taxation in the telecommunications industry in Nigeria and its impact.

He said the Committee, after extensive and wide-ranging consultations, resolved to harmonize the taxes applicable to broadband-related activities and streamline the taxation management processes across the federation, specifically, to deepen broadband penetration for the social and economic development of the Country.

The committee according to the minister agreed to the uniform Right of Way (RoW) charge of N145.00 per linear meter of fibre.

Mr Pantami recalled that in October 2019, the ministry had written all the state governors, drawing their attention to these resolutions and soliciting their support and collaboration towards the realisation of the National Digital Economy by fast-tracking the deployment of broadband infrastructure for the provision of affordable internet services to under-served and un-served areas.

“It is true that the digital economy today is strategically dominating the world economy. Oxford Economics puts the current value of the digital economy at $11.5 trillion which is about 16% of the world economy.

“Furthermore, the World Economic Forum revealed that 60% of the global economy is expected to be digitised by 2022. With the renaming of the Federal Ministry of Communications to Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy as well as the unveiling of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy by Mr President, we are on the path of realising the potentials of the digital economy.

“It is, however, disheartening to hear that some States have decided to disregard these resolutions and have, in some cases, increased the RoW charges by over 1,200%. This will no doubt impact negatively on the efforts being made by the Federal Government. It is established that there is a strong correlation between a country’s broadband penetration and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). An ITU study on Africa indicates that a 10% broadband penetration would result in an increase of 2.5% of GDP per capita,” the minister lamented.

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Photo News: Emir Sanusi visits Sultan of Sokoto

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Aminu Abdullahi

The former Emir of Kano has on Monday paid a courtesy visit to Sultan of Sokoto Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar lll.

Kano Focus reports that the pictures of the visit were published on a Facebook page linked to former Emir named ‘Sanusi ll Dynasty’.

Though the reason of the visit was not stated, but the former Emir has paid similar visit to Lamido of Adamawa in his capacity as leader of Tijjaniyya sect in Nigeria.

Emir Muhammad Sanusi ll

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Kano to revive bilateral relationship with Pakistan

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Aminu Abdullahi

Kano State Government has expressed commitment to revive the long existing relationship with Pakistan.

KANO FOCUS reports that Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje gave the assurance on monday while receiving the Pakistani High Commissioner to Nigeria Muhammad Tayyab Azam at the Government House.

Ganduje represented by his deputy Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna said Kano endowed with lots of potentials is open for people to come and invest, particularly those from Pakistan.

“We are happy for showing commitment towards reviving the long relationship between us. I can remember the partnership we have in the engagement of Pakistani teachers in our schools which has yielded a lot today.”

“Even in the area of agricultural mechanization we have partnered with Pakistan especially in the supply of tractors to our farmers,therefore I feel if we continue to explore agriculture it will be beneficial to both Kano and Pakistan”.

The Governor also commended Pakistan for showing interest in reviving the bilateral relationship with Kano State.

In his remarks the Pakistani High Commissioner Muhammad Tayyab Azam described the visit to Kano as historic and important being the first state he visited since assuming office.

“I know the importance of Kano as hub of business in Nigeria, after Lagos Kano is next where there is business opportunity”.

“There was a time in Kano when most schools   have many Pakistani teachers..my aim is to bring back that relationship”.

He however pointed out that Kano and Pakistan have similarities in both values and culture therefore it is important to deepen the relationship so as to sustain the partnership in  the areas of health and agriculture as that will create opportunities for our people towards boosting the economy.

The High Commissioner was accompanied during the visit by Pakistani Consul General in Kano Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai.

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ACF revives Kano chapter

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Aminu Abdullahi

The Arewa Consultative Forum ( ACF) has resuscitated it Kano State chapter and nominated a 14- member Interim Executive Committee to run its affairs for the next six months.

Kano Focus reports that the Forum has mandated the new leadership to organise a general congress that may elect a new council.

A statement issued on Monday by the publicity secretary of the Forum Bello Sani Galadanchi reported that at the inaugural ceremony presided by a member of ACF Board of Trustees, Halliru Akilu, the non- partisan voluntary organization also nominated delegates to its National Executive Committee ( NEC) engagements.

Akilu, a retired Brigadier- General, tasked the new leadership to work in unity, and restore all ACF organs and activities for the betterment of our society.

He stressed that the ACF which is apolitical, believes in the unity of the country, but aspires to see the glory of the north restored, and the economic fortunes of the region tapped for the greater benefit of our people and the nation as a whole.

In his acceptance speech, the new Chairman of the ACF Interim Committee, NaShehu Hassan Abubakar thanked the congregation for finding him worthy of the enormous responsibility.

Abubakar, a retired Air Vice Marshall (AVM) assured the ACF National body and people of Kano State of his determination to steer the ship creditably, selflessly and in strict compliance with ACF desire to improve the lot of our people, as well as agitate for their rights.

Other committee members nominated at the ceremony include Aishatu Yakubu Maijama’a (Deputy Chairperson); Shehu Aliyu (Vice- Chairman); Muhammad Mustapha Yahaya (Secretary); Sani Bala Tela (Assistant Secretary); Rabia Hussein Adamu (Treasurer); and Mairo Bello (Assistant Treasurer).

Others   are Mahadi Sadiq Abubakar, (Financial Secretary);  Hafsat Namadi Bebeji (Assistant Financial Secretary); Bello Sani Galadanchi (Publicity Secretary); Tanimu Ibrahim Getso (Assistant  Publicity Secretary); Kabir Mukhtar (Legal Adviser); Muhammad Kabir Haruna (Assistant Legal Adviser); and Azimi Namadi Bebeji (Auditor).

The inaugural ceremony attracted Youth and Women wings of the ACF whose members were nominated into both the executive committee and the NEC.

Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) is apolitical and socio-cultural association of leaders in Northern Nigeria formed in 2000 to protect Northern interest in the political scene.

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