By Omobayo Azeez
Nigeria’s minister of communications, Isa Pantami, has reportedly asked telecommunications service providers in the country to reduce the price of data.
The minister also asked the telecoms industry regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to collaborate for the directive to be achieved.
Yusuf Abubakar, an aide to Pantami, confirmed to the press that the minister issued the directive when he received a report on the implementation of the ministry’s short-term performance targets.
According to a statement by Abubakar, the minister lamented that Nigerians do not enjoy internet services despite spending huge funds on purchase of data.
The statement quoted a report from a UK-based price comparison website which rated Nigeria as below the top 10 African countries with low average price of data.
Pantami said this was lamentable, especially considering the fact that Nigeria has over 174 million internet users as confirmed by the NCC.
“The minister also finds it unacceptable that with the prevailing high cost of data in Nigeria, the citizens still do not enjoy value for money as subscribers battle daily with illegal deduction of data, poor quality of service, among others.
“It is against this backdrop that the minister directed the NCC, the telecom regulators, to immediately work hand-in-hand with the telecoms operators and ensure a downward review of the price of data in Nigeria,” the statement said.
The minister also demanded improved quality of service provided as well as checking the illegal deduction of subscribers’ data.
Pantami recently met with Umaru Danbatta, executive vice chairman and CEO of the NCC, who laid bare before the minister various issues of concern in the telecoms sector.
The NCC team discussed with the minister causes of data depletion and cost, quality of service, among others.