May 30, 2024
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October 21, 2022

FG directs MNOs to reverse unilateral 10% tariff hike

By Upfrontdigital News 0 249 Views

By Staff Reporter

THE Federal Government has directed mobile network operators (MNOs) to reverse the 10 per cent hike in tariffs, especially on data services, which they recently implemented.

    In a statement, signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Reuben Muoka, the telecoms regulator said its board didn’t give final approval for the price adjustment.

     Recall that MTN and Airtel had fortnight ago, announced a 10 per cent hike in some of its packagaes, citing rise in cost of doing business in the country and circumstances beyond its control. For example, 10GB of data, which usual cost N3,000 was adjusted to N3, 300.

      However, NCC in the statement, said: “The attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been drawn to media reports of unilateral implementation of the recently approved 10 per cent upward tariff adjustments for some voice and data services by the service providers, on their networks.

     “The consideration for 10 per cent approval for tariff adjustments for different voice and data packages was in line with the mandates of the Commission as provided by the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and other extant Regulations and Guidelines, as this was within the provisions of existing price floor and price cap as determined for the industry. The decision was also taken after a critical and realistic review and analysis of the operational environment and the current business climate in Nigeria, as it affects all sectors of the economy.

      “Further, even though the tariff adjustment was proposed and provisionally approved by the management, pending the final approval of the Board of the Commission, in the end it did not have the approval of the Board of the Commission. As a result, it is reversed.”

     According to NCC, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has maintained that his priority is to protect the citizens and ensure justice to all stakeholders involved.  As such, anything that will bring more hardship at this critical time will not be accepted.

     “This was also why he obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the suspension of the proposed 5 per cent excise duty, in order to maintain a conducive enabling environment for the telecom operators.  Much as there is an increase in the cost of production, the provision of telecoms services is still very profitable and it is necessary that the subscribers are not subjected to a hike in charges,” NCC stated.

      In view of the above, the Commission, informed that through a letter sent on October 12th, 2022, has already directed the affected MNOs to reverse the upward tariff adjustment.

     NCC said it would carry out further consultations with all industry stakeholders on the best approaches that will protect and uphold the interest of both the consumers and the service providers.

    According to the telecoms regulator, it will continue to entrench very transparent processes and procedures for rates determination in the industry, adding that the process is usually carried out with wide industry consultation.  NCC said it is through these processes that price floors and price caps for data and voice services are benchmarked, regularly reviewed, and determined from time to time.

    “The Commission will continue to abide by this time-tested process and international best practice to ensure efficient pricing mechanism for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria,” the statement reads.

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