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General News of Thursday, 20 October 2022


Reverse 10% increase in call, data tariffs - FG to telcos

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The federal government has directed telcos, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), to reverse the unilateral upward tariff adjustments in their voice and data services.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in a letter dated October 12, gave the directive following media reports of unilateral implementation of the recently approved 10 per cent upward tariff adjustments.

The adjustments were for voice and data services by the service providers on their networks.

NCC spokesman Reuben Muoka announced this in a statement on Wednesday.

The commission said the consideration for 10 per cent approval was in line with its mandates as provided by the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003 and that it was in line with other extant regulations and guidelines, as this was within the provisions of the existing price floor and price cap as determined for the industry.

The decision was taken after a review and analysis of the operational environment and current business climate in Nigeria, said NCC.

“The tariff adjustment was proposed and provisionally approved by the management, pending the final approval of the board of the commission,” the NCC explained. “However, in the end, it did not have the approval of the board of the commission. As a result, it is reversed.”

According to the statement, Isa Pantami, the minister of communications and digital economy, maintained that his priority was to protect the public and ensure justice for all stakeholders.

“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 five per cent excise duty in order to maintain a conducive enabling environment for the telecom operators,” stated NCC.

It added, “Much as there is an increase in the cost of production, the provision of telecom services is still very profitable, and it is necessary that the subscribers are not subjected to a hike in charges.”

The commission reiterated its commitment to “entrench very transparent processes and procedures” for rate determination in the industry, stressing that 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.”

NCC added that it would “continue to abide by this time-tested process and international best practice to ensure efficient pricing mechanisms for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria.