Senate constitutes panel to probe DStv tariff hike

By Benjamin Arida://

Senate on Wednesday constituted a seven-man ad-hoc committee to carry out comprehensive investigation into the tariff hike by DStv (Multi-Choice Nigeria) with a view to bringing the pricing activities in line with international practice.

This was even as the upper legislative chamber directed all pay-tv service providers to immediately review their bouquet prices downwards in tandem with the prevailing reality of economic situation in Nigeria.

The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, announced the composition of the ad-hoc committee, after consideration of a motion titled, “Nigerians dumbfounded, outraged over Pay-Tv Tariff Hikes, demand for Pay-Per-View subscription model”, sponsored by Senator Patrick Abba Moro (PDP Benue South) during plenary.

Lawan appointed the Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North), to chair the ad-hoc committee and Senators Sulaiman Abdu Kwari (APC Kaduna North), Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos Central), Yusuf A. Yusuf (Taraba Central), Lekan Mustapha (APC Ogun East), Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu South) and Akon Eyakenyi (PDP Akwa-Ibom South) as members.

The Senate President charged the panel to find out how other countries are billed by pay-tv service providers. 

Presenting the motion, Senator Moro noted with concern the uproar within the public over tariff hikes, price increases by Pay-tv service providers on their bouquets

He stated that the leading pay-tv service provider in Nigeria, (Multi-Choice Nigeria) informed all DStv compact subscribers on August, 22 2020, to expect a 13.3% price increase to N7,900 up from N6, 975 commencing from September 1, 2020.

The lawmaker bemoaned the hike in subscription fee for DStv compact plus by 9.8 percent from N10,925 to N12,000, and DStv premium from N16, 200 to N18,400 indicating a 13.6% hike. 

He said: “MultiChoice Nigeria willfully and perpetually increases the cost of its bundles because there is no regulation whatsoever in the area of fixing rates.

“As usual, without recourse to the economic situation of the country Multi-Choice 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, 6669), GOtv Jinja (N1, 900), GOtv Lite (N900).”

The lawmaker expressed concern that thousands of pay-tv subscribers in Nigeria have bitterly reacted to the development on different social media platforms, ranging from deep shock to pure outrage with many asking the Nigerian government to checkmate the activities of pay-tv service providers in Nigeria especially in the area of fixing prices.

He added that among the bitter complaints of Nigerian subscribers of pay-tv services is the poor network service experienced as a result of bad weather/ epileptic electricity supply, which sometimes makes a whole month subscription wasteful without the subscriber watching anything before the expiration.

Senator Moro said that Nigerians are demanding that, rather than paying fixed rates for packages monthly, pay-tv service providers should introduce a subscription model which allows subscribers pay per-view to enable them match their TV consumption to subscription as it is the case with electricity metering and mobile telephony.

He explained that the pay-per-view that Nigerian subscribers are demanding for, is a flexible model plan of subscription which allows subscribers of pay-tv to pay-per watch, to avoid Paying for services which they do not consume.

The Senate, in its resolutions also urged the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and the Nigerian Communications Commission to direct all pay-tv providers to introduce a pay-per-view model of subscription as against the month to month prepaid model presently in place.

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