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House of Reps to probe DSTV over increase in subscription rates
THE House of Representatives has commenced investigation into cable and satellite television service providers in Nigeria over high tariffs and acquired bouquets charged Nigerian subscribers according to a report.
The House had inaugurated an ad hoc committee on June 2 to probe the increase of subscription rates by Multichoice and other cable television service providers, with the mandate to invite agencies regulating the industry to intervene.
The committee was saddled with the responsibility to compel MultiChoice, owners of Digital Satellite Television (DSTV) to introduce pay-per-view in charging its Nigerian subscribers.
Unyime Idem, Chairman of the committee at an investigative hearing held in Abuja on Thursday, said the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) was summoned to explain why DSTV and other service providers have refused to introduce pay-per-view.
“Nigerians have been crying on a daily basis that they are not satisfied with the services they are getting from the providers in terms of high charges, price hike and, most importantly, considering what is obtainable in other countries of the world, that is pay-per-view offer that other countries are giving to their subscribers,” he said.
The South African based television content provider, MultiChoice has frequently been in the spotlight for allegedly overcharging its Nigerian subscribers by restricting them to prepaid plans.
“Why is it not implemented in Nigeria? We want to know your position as the regulator of these service providers. What are the bottlenecks? What are the constraints? What are the implications? Why are we not enjoying ‘pay as you go’ as subscribers to these service providers? he queried.
DSTV had announced an increase in its subscription rates for DStv and GOtv packages from June 1, to reflect the changes in Value Added Tax, VAT, rates. The adjustments were to reflect the increase in the VAT rate by 2.5 per cent from an initial 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent by the Federal Government.
The DSTV premium subscription rates were to be raised from N15, 800 to N16,200 while GOtv Max price would increase from N3, 280 from N3,200.
However, the Committee assured Nigerians of justice and fairness, saying it would work towards making the providers adopt a ‘pay per view’ system.