Held on 30th March 2021, the Conference, thematically focused on “Facilitating Broadband Access Through a Favourable Right of Way Regime”, was coordinated by the State’s Physical Planning Board. The conference came on the heels of Federal Government’s launch of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-2030 and the New National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, and the appeal to states to take urgent and concrete steps to domesticate the Policy and Plan, as well as attendant regulatory instruments and programmes.
Inline with this, the Government of Anambra State has expressed readiness to partner investors in the telecommunication sector of the state.
Speaking during Stakeholders’ forum, Governor Willie Obiano emphasized that his administration is strategically pursuing an agenda towards a realization of broadband access across the cities and rural areas of the state.
The Governor who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Nkem Okeke, stated that broadband technology contributes so much to present day economic growth, which also enhances financial inclusion, security, education and is a key enabler for all the other sectors of the economy, announcing that Anambra became the first state in the South East to implement a N0.00 per linear meter, lower than the recommended one hundred and forty-five naira per linear meter by the National Economic Council as right of way charges.
He said that the gesture was to create an enabling environment for telecommunication companies to spur increased fiber infrastructure deployment in Anambra, which will further enhance broadband penetration.
Governor Obiano said that the state focuses on E-security, E-commerce, E-government, E-education and E-health which are in line with the policy direction of his administration.
The Governor assured that various mechanisms have been put in place to ensure a favourable environment to help businesses thrive in the state.
The Counselor to the United Kingdom Government, Guy Harrison represented by Martha Bostock who charged other states to emulate Anambra, congratulated the state government for pursing the drive.
In a goodwill message through the Director, Digital Economy at Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Austine Nwaulune, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, applauded Anambra state government for crashing the right of way charges to zero naira, an action he said will put Anambra State on the global map of Digital Economy, reiterating that the Commission in the drive for Broadband, has licensed Infrastructure Companies, InfraCos, for the South East and five other zones of the Federation, including Lagos as a special zone.
On his part, the Managing Director of Anambra State Physical Planning Board, Barrister Chike Maduekwe said that as the body with the responsibility of granting building permits/approvals in the state for the deployment of fiber optics and other relevant approvals, they are taking a critical look at the guiding laws and practices obtainable in the state with a view to establishing a seamless working environment for the operations of telecommunication companies, pointing out that contributions from stakeholders in the Forum will form part of the considerations which will be utilized in the journey.
Others who spoke during the programme were, the President Association of Licensed Telecommunications Providers of Nigerians, Mr Ikechukwu Nnamani, Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, represented by his Special Adviser on ICT, Hon. Gerald Ilukwe, Dr. Adeluyi, who represented the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, Engineer Gbenga Adebayo, Telecom Service Providers, Olusola Teniola, Alliance for Affordable Internet, among others.
The Chairman of South East and Anambra state Traditional Rulers’ Council, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, participated among other four hundred participants.