Following the high data subscriptions placed on subscribers by service providers, Nigerian Communications Minister, Dr Isa Ali-Pantami has ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission to compel telcos to reduce the prices of their data packages. In addition to this directive, he asked the NCC to put an end to frequent data depletion experienced by subscribers.
The Details: The development was disclosed by the Personal Assistant to the Minister on New Media, Yusuf Abubakar, after Pantami received a progress report on the implementation of Short-Term Performance Targets set for the NCC.
Recall that this is not the first time the Minister would be giving a stern directive on issues regarding the performances of telcos. In August, he ordered the NCC to investigate the complaints of illegal data deduction by telcos and promised to sanction culpable parties responsible for this trend.
Pantami found the situation quite unacceptable and worrisome that Nigerians spent so much on data but got less value for their money.
“According to the report from a UK-based price comparison website – Cable, Nigeria is not among the top 10 African countries with low average price of data, a position the Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Pantami, finds worrisome considering the fact that the country has over 174 million internet users made public by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
“The minister also finds it unacceptable that with the prevailing high cost of data in Nigeria, the citizens still do not enjoy value for money as subscribers battle daily with illegal deduction of data, poor quality of service, among others.
“It is against this backdrop that the minister directed the NCC, the telecom regulators, to immediately work hand in hand with the telecom operators and ensure a downward review of the price of data in Nigeria, improved quality of service provided and check the illegal deduction of subscribers’ data,” parts of a statement signed by Abubakar read.
Further developments: The Minister also charged the management of Galaxy Backbone Plc, a government-owned information technology service provider to deliver effective services. He advised them to leverage on the advantage of government’s funding to deliver quality services that will attract more revenue.
“The minister reminded the management of Galaxy Backbone Plc that the Nigerian government invested in the enterprise to reap the dividend of its investment,” the statement added.
Why this matters: Pantami issued the directive to ensure Nigeria is moving progressively in the communications industry in line with the transformation agenda for Nigeria in the areas of job creation, economic growth and transparency of governance.
The directive was met with several reactions.