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Lagos backs down on telecoms infrastructure demands

Nigeria's Lagos state backs down on telecoms infrastructure demands.

Nigeria’s Lagos state government has softened its stance on the installation, roll-out and deployment of base stations and fibre optic cables in the area.

This follows concern among stakeholders in the telecoms sector, who have accused the state government of being “too stringent” on issues such as taxes, levies, decommissioned sites and right of way fees.

Key officials from the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and the state government have met in a development that has culminated in the state backing down on some demands.

In response to the issues of high taxes imposed on telecoms companies, the state government said it would immediately reduce taxes and levies on the firms by over 40%.

Meanwhile, right of way fees are also planned to be dropped from N500 per linear metre, down from N5,000.

These compromises; however, do hinge on grounds that operators agree to use approved and qualified contractors, in a bid to ensure the likes of the integrity of roads when fibre has been installed.

Speaking at the meeting, Lagos governor, Babatunde Fashola, said the government was not hindering firms from expanding as it was in the interest of the state for telecoms companies to embark on such projects.

“We need you to roll out probably more than you need it but we do not need it at the expense of our roads, or lives of the people. Infrastructure must be built to very high standards,” Fashola told operators.

Also, Nigeria’s information communication technology minister, Omobola Johnson, praised the state government for leading the charge in removing many of the barriers to telecoms infrastructure deployment in Lagos.

She expressed her hope that many other states would emulate Lagos.

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