The National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) has described the directive from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for data tariff increase as insensitive.
Message from operator
The message sent by Etisalat says ”Dear Valued Customer, Effective December 1, 2016, we will review our data plans & prices in compliance with NCC directive. Dial *200*3# NOW to buy MORE DATA.”
The association’s President Deolu Ogunbanjo, who condemned the move in a statement, reckoned that such increment would only portends more hardship for Nigerians.
”We view the directive as insensitive and callous. Since NCC is an agency of the Federal Government, the purported directive is one more designed by the government to cast a more financial burden on the already depressed citizenry.
”The Communications Service Tax Bill, which proposes to impose a monthly Communication Service Tax of nine per cent on all electronic communication services, which include voice calls; SMS; MMS and data usage is still before the National Assembly.
”There has been a lot of hue and cry against the bill by the citizens. The NCC directive is, therefore, nothing but a huge effort aimed at enforcing the obnoxious provisions of the bill through the back door.
”The inimical directive, if implemented has grave and far-reaching consequences as the gains of telecommunication revolution we have made so far will be eroded,” he said.
According to him, the policy desires to attain 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018 will no longer be attainable, with a high prospect of rolling back the current 13 per cent broadband access via mobile.
He said that those businesses that relied on data and internet connectivity to offer their services would go underground. Their promoters would return to the labour market, thereby compounding the unemployment situation in the country.
Ogunbanjo further said since the data tariff increment was just a prelude (testing the water) to voice calls tariff increment, telecommunications services would now be limited to the rich.
”And the poor, who constitute about 90 per cent of the population, will be denied access. This is a retreat to pre -2001 era,” he added.