The Federal Government on Tuesday resolved to reduce taxes payable by telecommunications operators in order to enable them to expand their services to the hinterland.
The government stated this through the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, at the 2017 Information Communications Technology and Telecommunication Expo in Lagos, which was organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The minister said that the expansion of telecom services to the hinterland would ensure that many more people, especially the underserved and unserved populace, had access to basic services.
In carrying out the government’s decision, Shittu said that the National Economic Council had approved a policy to harmonise Right of Ways charges payable by telecommunications companies on local, state and federal highways.
He said, “The policy, when it comes to fruition, will minimise the spaces occupied, burden on the roads and reduce taxes payable by the telecoms operators.
“As such, with the RoW challenges gone, operators can invest in last mile infrastructure, especially fibre, that will boost services.”
The minister added that the ministry would liaise with states and relevant stakeholders for the smooth implementation of the RoW project.
He also said that the ministry would continue to support the establishment of companies in the areas of hardware and software development by ensuring that they were protected through regulations or other means.
Shittu added, “We will assist them to grow. We have accepted that Nigeria must take the leadership role in Africa’s Information and Communications Technology ecosystem.
“We are amenable to Public-Private Partnership relationships to drive the ministry’s projects. We, therefore, assert that 2017 must be a year of action.”
The President, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande, said there was no better time to harness the benefits of ICT than now “when the economy is in dire need of diversification.”
She added, “Today, virtually all sectors leverage ICT for optimal performance. This is evident in the financial services sector, where electronic banking is now the vogue.