BY KINGSLEY OKOYE
ABUJA – The President of the Senate, Alhaji Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday at plenary constituted a seven-man ad hoc committee to probe the tariff hike by Pay-Tv service providers operating in Nigeria.
Senate also at the plenary directed all Pay-Tv service providers to immediately review downward their bouquet prices in view of the prevailing economic situation in Nigeria.
Lawan, while announcing the composition of the ad hoc committee, implored the members to carry out a comprehensive investigation into how other countries are billed by Pay-Tv providers.
The Deputy Whip, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger ) was appointed the chairman of the ad hoc committee.
Members included Senators Sulaiman Abdu Kwari, Oluremi Tinubu, Yusuf Yusuf, Lekan Mustapha, Chukwuka Utazi and Akon Eyakenyi.
Earlier, the senate in a motion kicked against the increase in tariffs by Multi-Choice Nigeria.
The motion entitled “Nigerians dumbfounded, outraged over Pay-Tv Tariff Hikes demand for Pay-Per-View subscription model”, was sponsored by Sen. Abba Moro (PDP Benue).
Moro explained with concern the uproar among subscribers over tariff hikes, price increases by Pay-Tv providers in their various bouquets.
According to him, the leading Pay-Tv service provider in Nigeria, MultiChoice Nigeria, had informed all DStv Compact subscribers on Aug. 22, 2020, to expect a 13.3 per cent price increase to N7,900 up from N6, 975 commencing from Sept 1, 2020.
Moro decried the hike in subscription fee for DStv Compact Plus by 9.8 per cent from N10,925 to N12,000, and DStv Premium from N16,200 to N18,400 indicating a 13.6 per cent hike.
According to him, MultiChoice Nigeria willfully and perpetually increases the cost of its bundles because there is no regulation whatsoever in the area of fixing rates.
“Note further that as usual, without taking cognisance of the economic situation in the country, MultiChoice has again raised the cost of its DStv and GOtv bundles, stating them as follows:
“DStv Premium (N21,000), Compact (N14,250), Compact (N9, 000), Confam (N5, 300), Yanga (N2, 950), Padi (N2, 150), Business(N2, 669), Xtraview PVR access fee (N2, 900).
“Those of GOtv are as follows; GOtv Max (N4,150), GOtv Jolli (N2, 666), GOtv Jinja (N1, 900), GOtv Lite (N900)”, he said.
He expressed concern that thousands of Pay-Tv subscribers in Nigeria have bitterly reacted to the development on different social media platforms, with many asking the Nigerian government to check the activities of Pay-Tv service providers in Nigeria, especially in the area of fixing prices.
He said among the complaints by Nigerian subscribers were the poor network service and epileptic electricity supply.
Moro said that Nigerians were demanding that rather than pay fixed rates monthly, Pay-Tv providers should introduce a subscription model which would allow subscribers to pay per-view.
This, he said, would enable them to match their television viewing to subscription, as it is with electricity and mobile telephone usage.
According to him, the pay-per-view that Nigerian subscribers are demanding is a flexible model plan of subscription which allows subscribers of Pay-Tv to pay-per view, without paying for services they did not use.
Accordingly, the Senate in its resolutions urged the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to direct all Pay-Tv providers to introduce a pay-per-view model of subscription as against the monthly prepaid model currently in place.
It also directed all Pay-Tv service providers in Nigeria to immediately review downward their bouquet prices in tandem with the prevailing economic situation in the country.
It also resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to carry out a full scale investigation on the pricing activities of DStv MultiChoice Nigeria to bring it in line with international practices. (NAN)