Amid revenue drop, Katsina government waives ‘right of way’ for telecom firms

The Katsina state government has waived the Right of Way (RoW) charges for telecommunication firms despite the decline in tax revenue reported by the state in 2022.

Checks by The ICIR on the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR) showed that its tax revenue declined to N10.37 billion in 2022 from N11.33 billion in 2021, representing an N964.20 million or 8.51 per cent drop .

The ICIR reports that RoW charges are expected to be paid by telecommunication firms before laying their optic fibre in any part of the state. It represents a tax the telecom companies pay to state governments to bury cables that transport internet traffic beneath roads and install other telecommunications equipment.

In a statement on Friday, December 8, Ibrahim Kaula, the chief press secretary to the state Governor, Dikko Radda, said the waiver was aimed at wooing telecom investors.

He disclosed that the governor had signed an executive order titled, ‘Right of Way (RoW) charges Regulation Order 2023,’ to that effect on the same day.

Kaula quoted that the order was promulgated to exercise the powers conferred upon the governor by Section (5)2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

“This order may be cited as the Right of Way (RoW) charges (Regulation) Order and shall be deemed to come into effect on December 8, 2023.

“From the commencement of the order, charges on Right of Way (RoW) throughout the state shall be free of charge per linear metre,” Kaula said.

    A RoW charge is a levy paid to state governments for the laying of optic fibre by telecom operators, he avvered.

    He noted that the RoW fixed charge of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) is N145 per linear meter.

    Noting that other states charged even above that amount, Kaula said Radda’s latest order made the service accessible at no cost in Katsina State.

    “I have no doubt that the move will soon attract investments for Katsina, especially in the areas of ICT and internet development,” Kaula added.

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