- Bill to give National Broadcasting Commission power to regulate tariff scales second reading
There may yet be hope in the horizon for pay TV subscribers in Nigeria on the issue of pay for just what is consumed as well as arbitrary increase in subscription tariff if the move by the House Committee on Communication is anything to go by.
According to the Deputy Chariman of the Committee on Communication of the House of Representatives, Unyime Idem, Nigerians will soon be enjoying pay-per-view bouquets.
The Deputy Chairman of the Committee who represents Ukanafun/Orukanam Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom State serves as the Chairman of the ad hoc committee constituted by the House of Representatives to look into the tariff increment by satellite television companies in Nigeria.
The committee had been set up on March 17, 2020 to look into activities and operations of companies like DSTV and other service providers.
Idem had noted at one of the hearings of the committee that its investigation was based on protests by Nigerians against tariff hike by DSTV.
While briefing journalists on Friday in Abuja, the lawmaker said he and two other lawmakers had sponsored a bill which has now passed second reading which seeks to grant powers to the National Broadcasting Commission to regulate operations of service providers.
He assured that the issue of price (tariff) increment that happens to Nigerians without the control of the regulator even when such services have not been consumed will be a thing of the past.
He said, “I want Nigerians to be happy, patient, and hopeful that in a short time, these issues are going to be addressed.
“Apart from the tariff, another thing the bill is seeking to address is the issue of monopoly. When this bill is passed into law, it would also give NBC the powers to open up the sub-sector so that more players can be brought on board.
“We need to broaden the system so that both local and international investors can come in and open up the system where we can have varieties. You can see what is obtainable today in the telecoms industry. Today, it is a sector that is so liberal and everybody would want to go in because it is a free market. So that is what we are looking at in the broadcasting industry.
“Very soon by the time it is passed, it is going to be a free market where everybody has a level playing ground.
“Right now, there are a lot of investors that want to come in but the monopoly that is rocking that particular sub-sector cannot accommodate new entrants into the system. So, that is one thing the bill is also seeking to address. So that apart from giving Nigerians benefit for the money pay, it would also add to the employment issue that Nigerians are yearning for. It is going to create a lot of employment.
“You can imagine the number of persons one outfit can accommodate in their employment. Then you can think of where we have so many companies coming in. At the end of the day, the number of employees that we are going to generate would be something that would help our economy. So those are the issues that we believe by the time it is passed it is going to address them.”