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Tinubu directs prioritization Of digital infrastructure investments to enhance business efficiency, productivity 

President Bola Tinubu has directed the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy; the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and the Federal Ministry of Environment to align regulations and tax frameworks to facilitate investment expansion in telecommunications and broadband infrastructure nationwide.

The President issued the directive at a meeting with a delegation from American Tower Corporation (ATC) Nigeria at the State House in Abuja on Thursday, expressing dissatisfaction with the bureaucratic pace in permit issuance processing for companies operating in the digital infrastructure sector.

The Chief Executive Officer of ATC Africa, Mr. Marek Busfy had expressed ATC Nigeria’s commitment to expanding its investments in the country, which have already surpassed $2.19 billion since its commencement of Nigerian operations in 2015.

Busfy also emphasized ATC’s commitment to delivering value to subscribers while reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with its operations.

Responding, President Tinubu commended ATC Nigeria for its significant contributions and investments in the country’s ICT sector, highlighting the importance of innovative solutions to bridge the digital divide.

The President lauded the ongoing efforts of the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy to promote digital connectivity across the nation, particularly the 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) programme that functions to upskill three million Nigerian youths in digital literacy and innovation through innovation incubators nationwide.

President Tinubu outlined ongoing initiatives to establish broadband connectivity in all 774 local government secretariats within six months, leveraging existing infrastructure, such as NIGCOMSAT and Galaxy Backbone’s fibre optic network.

”In the area of ease of doing business, no nation can make progress without paying attention to the opportunities that are right in front of them. We have a vibrant youth population that has successfully innovated without much government support. What now happens in this era when we are providing massive support to their digital economic activities? They will do very well. You are investing in the right place at the right time.

”Considering our population and land mass, we need your investments to ensure that we are ready for a higher level of digital penetration in the telecommunications sector and the specific type of digital education that is needed in the competitive, knowledge-based global economy of the 21st century,” the President said.

Addressing concerns raised by the delegation regarding the ease of doing business in Nigeria, President Tinubu assured them of his administration’s commitment to implementing reforms that will eliminate bureaucratic constraints.

In response to a request from the delegation for a reduction in withholding tax for telecommunications companies to stimulate investments in telecommunications and broadband infrastructure, the President said the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) would review the matter and provide a solution that is in the best interest of both the investors and the Nigerian people.

”Every citizen, whether at the corporate or individual level, fights tax. Let us work with the FIRS and see how we can slice the cake. If the country has a good path of growth, it is a greater opportunity for you to invest,” the President stated.

In his remarks, the CEO of ATC Africa reiterated the company’s readiness to invest further in Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure to meet the market’s growing demand for data, while lauding the clarity of strategy demonstrated by the administration, particularly praising the roadmap and efforts of the Honourable Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani.

”Mr. President, what has struck me in Nigeria is the clarity of strategy by your administration, particularly in the ICT sector, and the administration’s 3MTT programme. In the last year, we have invested over $200 million in growing our infrastructure in Nigeria, and we are ready to do significantly more.

”We have employed several hundred people in Nigeria and 25,000 more indirectly. We have paid about $400 million in taxes, both direct and indirect. As an American company, we are often asked about our experience in Africa and in Nigeria, and we want to stress that we are very ethical in our approach to business,” Mr. Busfy said.

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Lagos clampdown on illegal estate development

The Lagos State Government has clamped down on illegal estate developments around the Epe corridor of the state.

The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Oluyinka Olumide, said this in a statement on Saturday in Lagos.

He stated that he led a special joint exercise to the axis on Thursday and Friday, based on the directive of the state executive council.

He mentioned some of the areas covered during the exercise to include: Alaro City, Okorisan, Igbodu, Molajoye, Shaala, Ketu, and Epe.

Olumide said notices were also served on estate developments such as Patriot Bay Estate, Smart City Estate, the Legend and Hilton Royal Garden.

Others are Greenland Estate, Legacy City, Isinmi Lagos, Dominion City, Topview Estate, and Ibi Alafia, among others.

He pointed out that erring estate developers were requested to visit relevant authorities to perfect their documents.

According to him, under no circumstances should any developer go ahead to start the development of estates without obtaining layout approval, planning permit, and fencing permit as may be required.

The commissioner added that the requirements were necessary to ensure the attainment of an organised, livable and sustainable built environment.

Olumide explained that layout approval was required for proper arrangement of the estate to give room for appropriate services and infrastructure, while the planning permit addressed the planning requirements on individual plots in the estate.

He urged property up-takers and buyers to be wary of investing in estates without approval, to avoid needless embarrassment from government officials.

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Police detain ADC to Fmr. Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

The aide-de-camp (ADC) to former Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has been arrested and detained by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

The Female police officer and others were arrested days after the former governor evaded arrest by EFCC operatives on Wednesday, April 17.

The officers were taken into custody on suspicion of aiding and abetting Bello’s escape from EFCC operatives.

The anti-graft agency had stormed Bello’s house to arrest him over allegations of money laundering and financial misconduct while in office.

The Nigeria Police Force has yet to release an official statement regarding the arrests, but police sources say the officers could face charges related to obstruction of justice or conspiracy to hinder a law enforcement operation.

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Zamfara govt suspends commandant state security outfit over allegations of poor funding

The Zamfara State Government has suspended the Commandant of the local security outfit, Community Protection Guards, CPG, Colonel Rabiu Garba (retd).

This is contained in a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mallam Abubakar Nakwadahe and made available to newsmen in Gusau, the State capital.

The statement said in part, “This is to inform the general public that, Zamfara State government has suspended Colonel Rabiu Garba as Commandant of the state Community Protection Guards”.

“The suspension takes immediate effect”.

According to DAILY POST no reason for his suspension was given but it was gathered that the suspension may not be unconnected with the radio live program he granted where he accused the state government of poor funding of the Community Protection Guards.

In a radio live program at the Vision FM radio Gusau, Colonel Garba said the state government has failed to give financial support to the Protection Guards.

He lamented that since their inauguration, the state government has not provided them with any takeoff grant.

Garba also said the officials of the protection guards were paid their salary only once since they were appointed four months ago.

He said members of the Community Protection Guards have been suffering from poor funding from the state government, a situation which he said has been crippling their activities in the fight against banditry.

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