The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC has been directed to review downward the price of data and end illegal data deduction by Mobile Network Operators, MNOs from subscribers within five working days.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami gave the directive in Abuja, during the presentation of the
New Board Member and Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management of NCC, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu.
“The key role of the NCC as a regulator is to protect the interest of Nigerian mobile network consumers in the country,” he said.
Mr Pantami said there were numerous complaints from Nigerians regarding illegal data deduction and high price of data, in view of this “I have directed the NCC to review the price of data downwards. Go to other African countries like ours that do not have completions like us. They do not have 20% of our population, go and see their prices of data there .The main agenda of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as the telecoms regulator is to protect the interest of the consumer and most of these consumers are Nigerians. Therefore, our top priority should be to protect the interest of consumers who happened to be Nigerians. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we give 100% support to Mr. President to deliver his key mandate.”
On the issue of illegal data deduction, Mr Patami said; I commented last time on the issue. This issue is worrying me badly today. Please sit down and review that issue. It is very important. And I want to get a feedback of that report in the next five working days. Because the complaint is beyond what I can handle as it is today, People are complaining.”
While sharing his experience as a victim, the Minister narrated; “It happened to me; I recharged my phone, my data line used it and I believed that what I used was not up to 20% of what I purchased.’’
Mr Pantami also charged the Commission to facilitate and set a target for Mobile Network Operators to expand the penetration of 4th generation, 4G and 3rd generation, 3G, wireless technologies across Nigeria especially in the rural areas.
He noted that the government was not unaware of challenges facing the sector, such as Right of Way (RoW), Vandalism of telecom infrastructure, among others and assured the telecoms regulator of his 100% commitment to resolve the challenges operators face.
“The way we pursue the mobile operators to do what is right, we should also work together to protect their interest and resolve the challenges operators face,” the Minister noted.
He however applauded the NCC on the successes recorded in the deactivation of unregistered SIM cards within the stipulated time frame, ensuring penalties were appropriately remitted to the government and for exceeding the Broadband Penetration target set at 30% by 5% with the penetration currently standing at 35%.
Dr. Pantami also urged the Commission’s Governing Board to be upright in the discharge of their official responsibilities, shun corrupt practices and personal interests, and above all to be good ambassadors of the present administration.
“As appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari, we are appointed to serve and protect the interest of Nigerians,” he said.
Responding after taking his Oath of Office, the New Board Member Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management of NCC, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu appreciated the government for appointing him and promised to work towards achieving the mandate of his office.