ABUJA — The Senate has asked MultiChoice to reduce the prices of its DStv and GOtv packages owing to the prevailing economic circumstances of the country.
It would be recalled that last week, Multichoice announced that from April 1, 2022, the prices of both DStv and GOtv subscriptions would increase due to the rising costs of inflation and business operations in Nigeria.
But during the plenary on Wednesday, March 30, Senator Patrick Abba Moro, a lawmaker representing Benue south raised a motion on the recent price increase by the company.
Presenting the motion titled, Nigerians dumbfounded, outraged over Pay-Tv Tariff Hikes, demand for Pay-Per-View subscription model, Moro, 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, said, “MultiChoice Nigeria willfully and perpetually increases the cost of its bundles because there is no regulation whatsoever in the area of fixing rates.”
The Senator 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.
According to him, 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 enjoying the subscription before the expiration.
To avoid users paying for services that they do not consume, Moro stressed the need for the company to introduce a flexible subscription model that will allow Nigerians to pay per view.
He said, “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 to match their TV consumption to subscription as it is with the case of electricity metering and mobile telephony.”
Following the adoption of the motion, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, set up a seven-man ad-hoc committee to carry out a very comprehensive investigation into the tariff hike introduced by pay-tv service providers operating in the country.
The members of the Committee include the Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, APC, Niger North as Chairman, as Senators Sulaiman Abdu Kwari, APC, Kaduna North; Oluremi Tinubu, APC, Lagos Central; Yusuf A. Yusuf, APC, Taraba Central; Lekan Mustapha, APC, Ogun East; Chukwuka Utazi, PDP, Enugu North and Akon Eyakenyi, PDP, Akwa Ibom South.
The Committee was tasked to carry out a comprehensive investigation into how other countries are billed by pay-tv service providers, as well as ascertain the possible constraints that have made it difficult for the Pay-TV providers to introduce Pay-Per-View for subscribers in the Nigerian market, especially with the pricing activities of DStv (MultiChoice Nigeria) in Nigeria with a view to bringing them in line with international practice.
The Committee was given one month to report back at the plenary.
The Upper Chamber further directed all pay-tv service providers to, as a matter of urgency, review their bouquet prices downwards in tandem with the prevailing reality of the economic situation in Nigeria, just as it kicked against the increase in tariffs by Multi-Choice Nigeria.
It 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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