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Relief for subscribers as NBC promises to give marching orders to DSTV on reversal price hike

...As Reps urge FG to end price hike, break monopoly in broadcast services

Subscribers to the Broadcast Satellite Service providers, particularly Multichoice’s DSTV and GOTV will soon have a sigh of relief as the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Tuesday promised to give marching orders to service providers to reverse hike prices to old tariffs.

Multichoice from June 1, increased tariffs of various subscribers
to implement the 7.5 per cent hike in Value Added Tax (VAT).

Checks on the DSTV site showed that Premium subscribers, who had been paying N15, 800 are to pay N16, 200; Compact Plus subscribers now pay N10, 925 instead of N10,650 while those on Compact are to pay N6,975 as against the previous N6,800, amongst others.

But the NBC Director-General, Armstrong Idachaba while appearing before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee Investigating the Non-implementaion of Pay-As-You-Go Tarrif by Broadcast Satellite Service Providers in Nigeria said, the agency would prevail on the service providers to reverse the price hike.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed disclosed that the Ministry and NBC had suspended payments for the initial two months to all broadcasters so that they will be able to absorb the impact of COVID-19.

Mohammed said: “It would be unfair for those for whom we have suspended payment to also at the same time increase their own fees.

“The pay as go you model is achievable in Nigeria, not just achievable, a pay TV provider, Startimes is already offering it, puncturing the fallacy that it is not possible, all that is required is that the existing content should be taken back to the drawing board to accommodate the pay as you go options”.

“On the issue of monopoly, when I became Minister some years ago I was concerned about the issue of monopoly. We did include in the amended new broadcasting code, which I just signed and we followed due process in doing this, a draft was submitted to me, all stakeholders went through it, went to Lagos and it was approved”.

Earlier, Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee,Uyime Idem asked the Federal Government to give marching order to the Broadcast Satellite Service providers, particularly Multichoice’s DSTV to reverse the recent June 1, 2020 price hike, and revert to the old price.

According to him, this is not the best of times to increase the prices of services no matter the reasons for such increase, taking into consideration the ravaging effect of COVID-19 on the economy of Nigerians.

Udim also urged the Federal Government to come up with a robust strategy to break the monopoly and open up the industry for larger participation and asked the Federal Government to implement Pay-As-You-Go Tarrif (PAYG) regime for the digital TV broadcasting in Nigeria with particular reference to DSTV, GOTV, Startimes and Kwese TV.

He called on the Federal Government to ensure deregulation of Content Right by Direct-to-Home (DTH) Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) operators, and encourage local content participation through content sharing.

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