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Nigeria directs MNOs to reverse 10 percent tariff adjustment for voice, data services

*The Nigerian Communications Commission says Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, maintains the Federal Government’s priority is to protect the consumers and ensure justice to all stakeholders in the telecoms sector of the economy

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says its attention has been drawn to media reports of unilateral implementation of the recently approved 10 percent upward tariff adjustment for some voice and data services by the network service providers.

ConsumerConnect reports the telecoms sector regulatory Commission affirmed that the consideration for 10 percent approval for tariff adjustment for different voice and data packages was in line with the mandates of the NCC, as provided by the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, and other extant Regulations and Guidelines.

It was as within the provisions of existing price floor and price cap as determined for the industry, noted the Commission.

The regulator recalled the decision was also taken after a critical and realistic review and analysis of the operational environment and the current business climate in Nigeria, as it affects all sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, in a statement issued Wednesday, October 19, 2022, however, clarified even though the tariff adjustment was proposed and provisionally approved by the Management, pending the final approval of the Board of the Commission, in the end, it did not have the approval of the Board of the Commission.

“As a result, it is reversed,” Mouka stated.

According to NCC, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Honourable Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, has maintained that his priority is to protect the citizens and ensure justice to all stakeholders involved.

The Minister was quoted as saying, “as such, anything that will bring more hardship at this critical time will not be accepted.”

The statement further said: “This was also why he (Pantami) obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the suspension of the proposed 5 percent excise duty, in order to maintain a conducive enabling environment for the telecoms operators.

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

In view of the above, the Commission, through a letter sent October 12, 2022, has already directed the affected Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to reverse the upward tariff adjustment.

It noted: “The Commission will carry our further consultations with all industry stakeholders on the best approaches that will protect and uphold the interest of both the consumers and the service providers.”

The NCC assures Nigerian consumers and stakeholders that it will continue to entrench very transparent processes and procedures for rates determination in the industry.

The Commission as well stated that “the process is usually carried out with wide industry consultation.

“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.”

The regulator added: “The Commission will continue to abide by this time-tested process and international best practice to ensure efficient pricing mechanism for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria.”

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