Nigeria Senate on Wednesday inaugurated a committee to “investigate” the subscription fees of DStv and GOtv bouquets in the country and directed all pay-tv service providers “to immediately review their bouquet prices downwards”.
The resolution of the upper legislative chamber followed a motion sponsored by Abba Moro, senator representing Benue South.
MultiChoice had announced last week an increment on subscription fees on all its platforms effective April 1, 2022 while blaming the decision on inflation and business operations costs in Nigeria.
“In light of the rising costs of inflation and business operations, we have had to review the price of our packages to keep delighting our customers with great entertainment, anytime and anywhere,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Senator Moro said the new fees are exploitative and were announced without consideration for the economic hardship subscribers are going through.
“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 with the case of electricity metering and mobile telephony,” Moro said.
Senate president Ahmad Lawan insisted that Multichoice, the operators of DStv and GOtv in Nigeria are deliberately exploiting its subscribers.
“What DStv is doing here, they can’t do it in many countries,” the Senate President said. “But here they do it and get away with it. So we need to have a public hearing. Our ad-hoc committee should be given the mandate to do a whole scale investigation.”
Lawan said the committee will carry out a “comprehensive investigation so that we can get more information on how other jurisdictions or countries are charged.”
The Senate 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 against the month to month prepaid model presently in place.
Members of the committee include Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi as Chairman, Senator Sulaiman Abdu Kwari, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Senator Yusuf A. Yusuf, Senator Lekan Mustapha, Senator Chukwuka Utazi and Senator Akon Eyakenyi.
The committee, according to Lawan, “has one month to report to the Senate and at the end of the day, we should have all these unnecessary payment we make to DStv reversed if they can’t justify it.”