All pay-tv service providers in Nigeria have been ordered by the Nigerian Senate to reduce their bouquet prices.
Following a debate on Nigerians’ demand for a pay-per-view subscription model, the Senate issued the directive during plenary on Wednesday.
The Senate also ordered the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, as well as the Nigerian Communications Commission, to mandate that all pay-tv providers adopt a pay-per-view subscription model.
Leading the debate, Senator Abba Moro told the chamber that MultiChoice increased its prices without putting into consideration the current economic situation of the country.
He said, “MultiChoice Nigeria willfully and perpetually increases the cost of its bundles because there is no regulation whatsoever in the area of fixing rates and without recourse to the economic situation of the country.
“MultiChoice has again raised the cost of DStv and GOtv bundles.
He noted 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 to match their TV consumption to subscription as it is with the case of electricity metering and mobile telephony.”
Supporting the motion, Senator Yusuf A Yusuf said he supported the motion for the MultiChoice tariff to be reviewed downwards.
“This is high time we stand up firmly and face MultiChoice to make sure we protect Nigerians. I support that their rates is scaled downward.
“And at the same time, there should also be a luxury charge on DStvNg to make sure that Nigerians also benefit in another way,” Senator Yusuf said.
Also supporting the motion for a downward review of tariff, Senator Barau Jibrin said Nigerians are being short-changed by pay-tv operators.
He said “They (pay-tv) increase fees whenever they like without considering the service they provide to Nigerians. Their service is poor, they don’t give what Nigerians are supposed to have.”
“Because of the nature of electricity we have in this country, sometimes someone will pay but lack of light won’t allow the person enjoy such services yet once the month ends, that money goes. There should be a system where there will be pay-per-view.”
“Again, the regulators should do the needful by not allowing an increase of fees by these entities the way they like. It is not in the interest of our people. I thereby support this motion because we need to stand for the interest of our people,” Senator Jibrin said.
Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President concluded by saying, “What DStv Nigeria is doing here, they can’t do it in many countries, but here they do it and get away with it. So we need to have a public hearing.
Speaking further, he said, “Our ad-hoc committee should be given the mandate to do a whole scale investigation.”
“The Committee has one month to report back to the Senate and at the end of the day, we should have all these unnecessary payments we make to DSTV Nigeria reversed if they can’t justify it,” the Senate President said.