By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
Nigeria Senate has constituted a seven-man ad-hoc committee to probe the tariff hike introduced by pay-tv service providers operating in the country.
The Senate also directed all pay-tv service providers to immediately review their bouquet prices downwards in tandem with the prevailing reality of the economic situation in Nigeria.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, while announcing the composition of the ad-hoc committee, charged the panel to carry out a comprehensive investigation into how other countries are billed by pay-tv service providers.
The Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North), is to Chair the ad-hoc committee and other members include Senators Sulaiman Abdu Kwari, Oluremi Tinubu, Yusuf A. Yusuf, Lekan Mustapha, Chukwuka Utazi, Akon Eyakenyi.
Earlier, the Senate, had in a motion kicked against the increase in tariffs by Multi-Choice Nigeria.
The motion titled, “Nigerians dumbfounded, outraged over Pay-Tv Tariff Hikes, demand for Pay-Per-View subscription model”, was sponsored by Patrick Abba Moro of Benue South.
The lawmaker noted with concern the uproar within the public over tariff hikes, price increases by Pay-tv service providers on their bouquets;
According to him, “MultiChoice Nigeria willfully and perpetually increases the cost of its bundles because there is no regulation whatsoever in the area of fixing rates.”
The lawmaker expressed concern that thousands of pay-tv subscribers in Nigeria have bitterly reacted to the development on different social media platforms, ranging from deep shock to pure outrage with many asking the Nigerian government to checkmate the activities of pay-tv service providers in Nigeria especially in the area of fixing prices.
He added that among the bitter complaints of Nigerian subscribers of pay-tv services is the poor network service experienced as a result of bad weather/ epileptic electricity supply, which sometimes makes a whole month subscription wasted without the subscriber watching anything before the expiration.
Moro, said 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 match their TV consumption to subscription as it is the case with electricity metering and mobile telephony.
He explained that the pay-per-view that Nigerian subscribers are demanding for, is a flexible model plan of subscription which allows subscribers of pay-tv to pay-per watch, to avoid Paying for services which they do not consume.
The Senate, in its resolutions, on Wednesday, urged the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and the Nigerian Communications Commission to direct all pay-tv providers to introduce a pay-per-view model of subscription as against the month to month prepaid model presently in place.