The Anambra State Government said it has begun the implementation of zero charges for Right of Way to allow speedy deployment of broadband infrastructure across the state as it aims to boost digital adoption.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Anambra State ICT Agency, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, who disclosed this in a chat with journalists in Lagos on Thursday, said waiver by the State was in line with the ‘Everything Technology and Technology Everywhere’ vision of the State Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo.
He added that the implementation of the Right of Way charges removal by the State Government is the first step to a digital economy that will encourage key investors, innovators, and businesses to the state.
By implication, he said Anambra prides itself as the first State in Southeast Nigeria to implement the waiver of the per linear meter Right of Way (RoW) charges as opposed to the N145 per linear metre recommended by the National Economic Council in 2020.
To further the cause of deepening broadband penetration in the State, Agbata said the ICT Agency, working in partnership with GICL, has deployed about 200 kilometres of fibre optic cables under the first phase of the Anambra State Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Initiative, targeted at Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Government (MDAs), schools and other clusters.
Commitment to a digital economy
Emphasizing the commitment of the state government to building a vibrant digital economy, Agbata said:
- “His Excellency, Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo has always demonstrated determination to turn Anambra State into a digitally driven economy. The broadband drive is one of the many ways to do it and at the same time, it connects to other plans. Yes, because without connectivity eGovernment programmes would become a mirage”.
- “Africa’s digital landscape is changing at a rapid rate and Anambra State is no different. The Governor approved the implementation of the zero charges on Right of Way because he understands the benefits are enormous. We are partnering with GICL which is giving us a lot of connectivity capacity that we are hopeful will leapfrog the State’s digital economy agenda.
- “This will power the Governor’s lodge and by extension, a local government and a university, as pilot”.
Agbata said that Mr. Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, has demonstrated huge interest in deploying modern strategies to eliminate bottlenecks to digital access, by reversing infrastructure decline in the State.
He said this will boost WiFi Hotspot rollout to Government offices, schools, and communities to diversify the economy, leveraging digital services for eGovernment, commerce, education, and innovation.
Standardizing the government’s digital assets
According to him, the Agency has continued to standardize the State Government’s Digital Assets by moving all Government websites to the .gov.ng domain.
On this, he said the Agency has initiated a Statewide migration of all Government assets to the Internet domain name anambrastate.gov.ng.
- “Prior to the Soludo administration, Government digital assets were scattered all over the Internet, with different domain names and on different servers. Today, most MDAs have been brought under the standard domain anambrastate.gov.ng in line with Federal Government policies”, amongst other achievements,” he said.
Anambra was one of the first 2 states, alongside Kaduna, to announce zero charges for Right of Way, which had been identified as a major hurdle for broadband infrastructure rollout.
While a few other states have announced their readiness to comply with the N145 per linear meter harmonized charges, Osun State most recently also announced that it would be charging zero fees for the permit to fast-track digital growth.