The Federal Government has reversed the 10% tariff hike on voice and data services announced months ago.

The government through the Nigerian Communications (NCC) in a statement released on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, ordered the reversal of the implementation of the newly approved data and voice tariff hike.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy in Nigeria, Isa Ali Pantami, maintained that the proposed tariff hike if approved and implemented as quoted by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, headed by Zainab Ahmed, will further threaten the livelihood of the citizens who have suffered a series of life difficulties already.

While acknowledging that the tariff increase was in line with the mandates of the Commission as provided by the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, and other extant Regulations and Guidelines, the commission said the implementation of the proposed increase has been halted.

“Furthermore, 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,” the NCC’s Director, Public Affairs Reuben Muoka said in the statement made available to newsmen yesterday.

Muoka quoted Pantami as saying that his top priority remains to protect the citizens and ensure justice for all stakeholders involved.

As such, he is against anything that will bring more hardship to the citizens at this critical time. For this course, according to him, he obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the suspension of the proposed 5% excise duty.

The approval according to the minister will provide 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.

“In view of the above, the Commission, through a letter sent on the 12th of October 2022, has already directed the affected Mobile Network Operators to reverse the upward tariff adjustment. The Commission will 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 statement noted.

The commission reiterated its commitment to continue to entrench very transparent processes and procedures for tariff 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 Commission will continue to abide by this time-tested process and international best practice to ensure efficient pricing mechanism for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria,” the statement added.

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