The minister of Communications, Dr Isa Pantami has directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to address the purported high cost and illegal deduction of data by Mobile Network operators (MNOs).
This is coming at the heels of recent report by UK-based price comparison website — Cable, that Nigeria is not among the top 10 African countries with low average price of data, a position the minister found worrisome considering the fact that the country has over 174 Million internet users.
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 (QoS) among others.
It is on this backdrop that the Honourable Minister directed NCC, the telecom regulators as a matter of urgency to immediately work hand in hand with the telecom operators and ensure they are a downward review of the price of data in Nigeria, improved quality of service provided and also checkmate the illegal deduction of subscribers’ data.
The Communications Minister gave this marching orders shortly after being briefed by the commission on the progress made in the implementation of the Short-Term Performance targets set for it to achieve.
It would be recalled that early last month, the Minister directed the commission to bring to an end the issue of sales of pre-registered, unregistered and partially-registered SIM cards; and to stem the tide of illegal deduction of the data of subscribers and work towards the downward review of the cost of data; as well as to ensure compliance with the maximum 2% Call Drop Rate directive to telecom operators.
The move was in line with His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari directives to ensure that all agencies under the supervision of a ministry are effective, efficient and accountable in the discharge of their responsibilities.
Dr Pantami also reminded NCC that as a regulator, their major priority should be protecting the interest of Nigerians and urged them to uphold professionalism and diligence in the discharge of their official responsibilities.
The commission also tabled challenges of the operators which includes vandalism of telecom infrastructures, inadequate power supply, right of way, hooliganism, multiple taxations among others and used the opportunity to call for the swift intervention of the Minister to address the issues.
In the same vein, the Communications Minister also directed Galaxy Backbone Plc, a government-owned Information Technology service provider to think out of the box, leverage on the advantage it has as a government-funded entity to deliver effective and efficient services to Nigerians, and in turn attract more revenue for the government.
The Honourable Minister reminded Galaxy that the Nigerian government invested in it to reap the dividend of its investment, consequently, the Minister Challenged Galaxy to ensure more Ministries (,) Department (and) Agencies (MDA) are patronizing it services, stressing that excuses would not be accepted or tolerated.
The Minister further urged them to work hand in hand with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to expand its reach and take advantage of NITDA’s regulatory authority.
It would be recalled that early last month, the Minister directed Galaxy to improve the reach and coverage of its services in the public sector; and to significantly improve the quality of services provided.
Dr Pantami also notified the Chief Executives that the scorecard of their performance on Short-Term Targets and new targets will be sent to them for implementation.
Pantami, a Next Level Prime Mover maintained that Nigeria as a nation can only grow if the citizens patronize what she produces and also produce what she needs.