Nigeria Govt Withdraws Approval For 10% Tariff Increase By Telcos

Nigeria Govt Withdraws Approval For 10% Tariff Increase By Telcos

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reversed the approval for 10 per cent upward tariff adjustments for some voice and data services by telecommunication network service providers.

The reversal announcement was conveyed in a statement released on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, signed by the NCC Director, Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka.

The statement indicated that the tariff adjustment was provisionally approved by the management of the commission but was not approved by the board and the service providers went ahead to unilaterally implement it, hence the reversal.

Mouka however, explained that the approval for 10 per cent tariff adjustments was in line with the mandates of the Commission as provided by the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, other extant Regulations and Guidelines and, was also within the provisions of existing price floor and price cap as determined for the industry and with regards to existing realities in the operational environment and the current business climate in Nigeria, as it affects all sectors of the economy.

Part of the statement read, “even though the tariff adjustment was proposed and provisionally approved by the Management, pending the final approval of the Board of the Commission, in the end it did not have the approval of the Board of the Commission. As a result, it is reversed.”

Mouka stated that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, “has 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 per cent 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.”

He disclosed that in view of the Commission’s decision, a letter had been sent out on October 12, 2022, directing all affected Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to reverse the upward tariff adjustment, adding that the communication regulatory body would carry out “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 statement added.

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