Residents of Sokoto state within the last one week have been grappling with sudden increase in the prices of recharge cards of all telecommunication network service providers.
An additional ten naira had been added to all N100 and N200 denominations and twenty naira to N400 and N500 denominations of all networks recharge cards within the state.
Customers who could not stomach the price increase, have been trooping to the state offices of the service providers situated within the metropolis for direct purchase over the counter at the face value price, a situation that is rendering the retailers redundant and reducing their income.
When contacted, heads of the telecommunication service providers in the state, claimed ignorance of the price increase, and maintained that the increase in price did not emanate from their offices.
Mohammed Lawal Tanko, Etisalat Experience Centre Manager, MTN’s Nura Bello, and Glo mobile’s Victor Ezemobi, told our correspondent, separately that, they never sell beyond the agreed price to the sole dealer in the state and promised individually, to find out why and where the increase in price emanated from.
Only Etisalat dealer specialist in charge of Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi, Yusuf Yusuf acknowledged that retailers in rural areas that traveled long distances to purchase recharge cards normally top-up the price on the face value to recoup their transport fare.
While also denying any knowledge of price increase within the metropolis, Yusuf said, “this is a feedback and we will go back to trace where the price increase comes from.”
However, a source at the office of Abubakar Mohammed Binji, the sole dealer to all the networks service providers in the state, who declined to have his name in print, hinted that the price increase might be due to increase in prices of paper and ink, the two major components in the production of recharge cards.
“I know that there is control between the service providers and the dealer, what happens between the dealer, sub-dealer and down the line to the retailer and consumer is what I cannot vouch for. Maybe, this is where there is disconnect.
“The price increase may also be due to market forces. There is price increase in every product and services and the retailers who sell recharge cards too, also patronize the same market. I think, this could be likely cause of the increase, “the source added.
Further investigation also revealed that shylock dealers from neighboring states who extend their market to Sokoto State might be behind the price increase to either sabotage the sole dealer in the state or to recover the additional expenses in extending their market to Sokoto.
Market survey indicates that the N100 recharge cards that get to the retailers in time past within the range of N95 and N96.5, now get to them between N97 and N98 as our correspondent reliably gathered that service providers sell to the dealer at N94.