LAGOS May 9 Nigeria's government should
simplify taxes and reduce fees involved in laying fibre optic
cables to encourage development of infrastructure for the
technology industry, Google's manager in the West African
country said on Tuesday.
Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor told Reuters boosting the technology
industry would help diversify Nigeria's oil-dependent economy,
the largest in Africa and which is now in its second year of a
recession caused mainly by low crude prices.
The Budget and National Planning Ministry said in March the
government should encourage local production of technology
hardware to reduce dependence on imports and generate foreign
exchange. The government aims to create 2.5 million new
technology jobs in 2017-2020 via a state-run training programme.
"The private sector can play a very strong role,"
Ehimuan-Chiazor said, adding that internet service providers
regularly complained that multiple taxes at the federal and
state level raised the cost of expanding the required
"Where the government can help is just removing some of
those obstacles - for example, bringing down right of way fees
and removing this challenge around multiple taxation," she said.
Right of way fees are the charges paid when securing
permission to lay cables. A reduction of fees by Lagos state
government helped bring fast broadband to Yaba, a district of
commercial capital that is now Nigeria's technology hub.
Ehimuan-Chiazor said Google had laid fibre optic cables in
Uganda's capital Kampala and in Abidjan in Ivory Coast, but said
it had no similar plans in Nigeria.
A spokesman for the Communications Ministry could not
immediately be reached for comment.
(Editing by Edmund Blair)