Countless times, Nigerians have smarted under the yoke of arbitrary increases in subscription rates for satellite television program broadcasts by South Africa-owned MultiChoice Nigeria.
Recently, the National Association of Nigerian Students, South-west Zone, has given MultiChoice Nigeria, a seven-day ultimatum to reverse its planned hike on DSTV and GOTV subscription rates.
The student association made this known in a statement on Tuesday, signed by its Coordinator, Adejuwon Olatunji, Deputy Coordinator, Alao John, and Public Relations Officer, Opeoluwa Awoyinfa
MultiChoice had announced an upward review of prices on its DSTV and GOTV packages by 17 per cent, in text messages sent to its subscribers.
It stated that the new rates would take effect on May 1, 2023, explaining that rising costs of business operations were the reason behind the increase.
Opposing the subscription hike, NANS said the South African company was bringing hardship, and extorting Nigerians, without considering their standard of living.
It also noted that tariffs should be charged on a “pay as you view” basis.
The NANS statement remarked, “Today, we are aware that MultiChoice Digital Satellite has increased its tariffs without considering the standard of living of Nigerians.
“We have also waited for long to see if this same company will dance to the music of Nigerians who have been clamouring for a ‘pay-as-you-view’ tariff, but the reverse is the case.
“This is the time to call on the National Broadcasting Commission to go back to the Commission’s Act to regulate the ownership, activities and operations of Direct Broadcast Satellite Service Providers.
“DSTV is one of the leading direct-to-home service providers in Nigeria since its inception of operation as far back as 1995 and has also made a lot of profit with over 25 million subscribers which is the largest market for its operations.
“We want the Federal Government to stampede their proposed plan in tariffs increment and also force them to implement the pay-as-you-view system.
“We are aware that DSTV operates a system of pay-as-you-go tariffs in other countries,” NANS declared.
It stated that Nigeria constitutes over 45 per cent of DSTV's global market share, and therefore called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the Minister of Communication to “break the sporting right of MultiChoice” and provide an alternative service provider in the country, so that “Nigerians can stop being exploited on a daily basis.”
Giving the ultimatum, NANS stressed, “We hereby give seven days ultimatum to MultiChoice Digital Satellite Television to reverse the plan of increasing the tariffs and also yield to the call of Nigerians by implementing pay-as-you-view tariffs, or else, we shall be left with no other option but to lock up all offices of DSTV until our demands are met which is the mind of all Nigerians.”
It is pitiable that Nigeria is a place where foreigners come to do business only to turn around and force Nigerians to the receiving end with little or no regulation from state actors.
One begins to wonder. Whose duty is it to call these foreign 'shylocks' to order? The NBC, the lawyers, the Police, the Honourable Members of the House, or the Senate? Nigerians deserve to know.
It is more regrettable that, as part of their operational strategy, the company's management unleashes their front desk staff to be harassing subscribers with incessant and annoying calls to remind them to subscribe!
At a time when services all over the world are based on use cases otherwise known as prepaid or pay-as-you-go, why would DSTV, for example, be dictatorial about the current payment option where you forfeit your subscription at the end of a month of zero use?
Why would the government appear unaware of these things or is there more to it than meets the eye?
If the business operating clime in Nigeria is not overly favourable to MultiChoice, they would have quit by now.
So who is fooling who? Upon these premises, the NANS' initiative challenging MultiChoice is long overdue and is highly welcome!
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