Serial digital entrepreneur and Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh has hailed Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, for crashing the Right of Way (RoW) charges in the state by over 96 per cent. The governor had recently signed an Executive Order No. 002, 2020 which slashed the current charges from N4500 to N145 per linear meter as stipulated by Federal Government policy.
Ekeh believes the development is a step in the right direction for the government and people of Imo state.
‘‘I sincerely think this is the best palliative citizens of Imo state and corporate organizations doing businesses in Imo state have received this season. We intend to roll out multi-million-dollars optic fibre infrastructure across Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia States based on our signed partnership with the Federal Government on INFRACO project. This will significantly alter the destiny of people living in these states and connect them to the global community in no distant time.’’
Further, the Zinox Chairman affirmed that the move by the Imo State governor will go a long way in accelerating the pace of technological and overall human capital development in the state.
‘‘I commend the Imo State Governor, His Excellency Gov Hope Uzodinma, for the uncommon courage, political will and leadership he has shown by being the first governor in the South East to reduce the Right of Way charges. This decision alone has the potential of encouraging more corporate organizations and strategic investors to make critical investments in the state. In addition, it is bound to usher in all-round development, especially by helping citizens of Imo State take their rightful places in the contemporary economy as global citizens while enhancing their businesses and lifestyle.
‘‘With this development, the average Imo citizen will, in no time, have increased access to the internet and the limitless opportunities therein. This will equally stimulate many other sectors of the economy including e-learning, e-Health, e-Commerce, among others and put the state at par with civilized states in other climes. I congratulate the governor for this laudable step.’’
The serial digital entrepreneur, who urged other governors in the South East to borrow a leaf from the example of Uzodinma, added that people of the South-East face an uncertain future if governors do not make critical decisions or investments that would better their lot.
‘‘Other governors in the South East can borrow a leaf from the example set by the Imo State governor. It is a very important development that would go a long way in positively altering the development narrative. Actually, the South East is in dire need of this kind of specific interventions due to the peculiar challenged faced by states in the region.
‘‘In fact, the South East region is blessed with a growing army of literate/educated, smart, very ambitious and talented youth, many of who are unemployed due to the near-absence or paucity of industries and other employment opportunities. This, coupled with the current harsh economic climate, may worsen the fate of these young people and push them over the edge, leading to more social problems. The South East, more than any other region in Nigeria today, faces the risk of an uncertain future if we – the governors, leaders and other stakeholders – do not do the right things to improve their circumstances,’’ he stated.
Equally important, Right of Way is the levy paid to state governments for the laying of optic fibre by telecoms operators. Indeed, the issue of Right of Way charges has been a thorny issue between players in the ICT sector including the Zinox Group and state governments over the years.
Uzodinma, who communicated his decision to slash the Right of Way charges in a statement, explained that the reduction was a manifestation of the state government’s determination to spur telecommunication and other companies to further invest in broadband infrastructure and trigger ancillary on-line services, especially in the field of education.