The nation’s telecommunications regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has ordered telecoms service providers to immediately reverse the tariff increase they implemented without recourse to the Commission’s approval for implementation.
In a statement signed by the Commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Reuben Muoka, the NCC noted that its attention was drawn to media reports of “unilateral implementation of the recently approved 10% upward tariff adjustments for some voice and data services by the service providers, on their networks.”
The Commission noted clarified its position, stating: “The consideration for 10% approval for tariff adjustments for different voice and data packages was in line with the mandates of the Commission as provided by the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and other extant Regulations and Guidelines, as this was within the provisions of existing price floor and price cap as determined for the industry. 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 economy.”
The statement however further clarified that even though the tariff adjustment was proposed and provisionally approved by the Management, pending the final approval of the Board of the Commission. The Board of the Commission headed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami,, after deliberations, however, did not approve the tariff increase. As a result, it is reversed.
The Minister had 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% 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,” the Commission remarked.
In view of the above, the Commission, through a letter sent on October 12, 2022, has already directed the affected Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to reverse the upward tariff adjustment. The Commission says it 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 NCC further assured that it will continue to abide by this time-tested process and international best practice to ensure efficient pricing mechanism for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria.