As Nigerians groan under the weight of the new tariff imposed by Pay-Tv service provider, DSTV, the Senate on Tuesday constituted a seven-man ad-hoc committee to carry out a comprehensive investigation into how other countries are billed by pay-tv service providers.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, while announcing the composition of the ad-hoc committee, tasked the panel to ensure an immediate downward review of bouquet prices in tandem with the prevailing reality of economic situation in Nigeria.
The Senate decision followed a motion titled, “Nigerians dumbfounded, outraged over Pay-Tv Tariff Hikes, demand for Pay-Per-View subscription model”, sponsored by Senator Abba Moro (Benue South).
In his lead debate, 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, (MultiChoice 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.
Moro lamented 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.
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”.
“Notes further that as usual, without recourse to the economic situation of the country MultiChoice has again raised the cost of its DStv and GOtv bundles stating them as follows, DStv Premium (#21,000), Compact (#14,250), Compact (#9, 000), Confam (#5, 300), Yanga (#2, 950), Padi (#2, 150), Business(#2, 669), Xtraview PVR access fee (2, 900).
“Those of GOtv are as follows; GOtv Max (4,150), GOtv Jolli (#2, 6669), GOtv Jinja (#1, 900), GOtv Lite (#900)”, he said.
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.
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.
Earlier, the Senate while deliberating on the motion kicked against the increase in tariffs by Multi-Choice Nigeria.
It 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.
The chamber also directed all pay-tv service providers in Nigeria to immediately review their bouquet prices downwards in tandem with the prevailing reality of the economic situation in the country.
It also resolved to set up an adhoc committee to embark on full scale investigation on the pricing activities of DStv (MultiChoice Nigeria) in Nigeria to bring it in line with international practice.
The Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North), was appointed to Chair the ad-hoc committee.
Other members of the committee include Senators Sulaiman Abdu Kwari, Oluremi Tinubu, Yusuf A. Yusuf, Lekan Mustapha, Chukwuka Utazi, Akon Eyakenyi.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.