FG orders telcoms  to reverse unilateral upward tariff adjustment

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The Federal Government has ordered telecommunications companies in the country to reverse the unilateral 10% tariff increase.

The upward adjustment, NewsSpecng gathered was carried out without the approval of the Board of the Nigeria Communication Commission, NCC.

Though NCC did not deny the fact that the matter was deliberated upon, and provisional nod was  secured from the management of NCC, the decision was however not endorsed by the Board of NCC, a statement by the Commission explained. 

Consequently, the order for reversal was issued. 

The statement which was signed by Reuben Muoka, Director, Public Affairs explained that nothing was wrong with the idea of the upward review as it is in line with the NCC Act, 2003, and other extant Regulations and Guidelines, as it was within the provisions of existing price floor and price cap as determined for the industry.

He also noted that the provisional approval by NCC management was based on critical and realistic review and analysis of the operational environment and the current business climate in Nigeria, as it affects all sectors of the economy.

He however said,Furthermore, 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.”

Further explanation, showed that the decision to suspend was also to protect the consumers. 

“The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, also maintained that his priority is to protect the citizens and ensure justice to all stakeholders involved.  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 5 per cent excise duty, in order to maintain a conducive enabling environment for the telecom operators.  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.

“In view of the above, the Commission, through a letter sent on the 12th of October 2022, has already directed the affected Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to reverse the upward tariff adjustment. 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 Commission will continue to entrench very transparent processes and procedures for rates determination in the industry. 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 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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