• Sun. May 26th, 2024

Telecom Tariffs In Nigeria Set For Review After 11 Years, Industry Experts Support Move

Bismarck Rewane, CEO of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, has emphasized the need for an urgent review of telecommunications tariffs in Nigeria, noting that the last revision was made in 2013 under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. Since then, significant economic shifts have occurred, impacting the sustainability and quality of telecom services.

During a recent interview on ChannelsTV, Rewane pointed out the disparity in inflation rates and the price increases of basic commodities and services over the last decade, which starkly contrasts the stagnation in telecom tariffs. For instance, the price of a bag of cement has surged by over 4,000%, while a bag of rice has seen a 525% increase since the last tariff review. The exchange rate has also deteriorated, with the Naira falling significantly against the dollar.

Rewane argued that the current tariff regime is constraining telecom operators’ ability to invest in infrastructure, which is crucial for maintaining service quality. He highlighted the broader implications of poor telecom services on the economy and the day-to-day lives of Nigerians, stressing that the telecom sector is a critical form of social infrastructure that requires adequate funding to function efficiently.

In support of Rewane’s remarks, the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) released a joint statement. They claimed that despite facing rising inflation and other economic challenges, the telecom industry remains one of the few sectors that have not adjusted its pricing due to regulatory constraints.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which regulates the telecom industry, acknowledged the concerns raised by operators. The NCC announced that it is conducting a cost-based study to decide whether to approve proposed price increments, ensuring any changes are justified and in line with current economic realities.

Operators and experts alike argue that without revising tariffs, the quality of telecom services in Nigeria will continue to decline, affecting both consumer satisfaction and the country’s economic growth. They point to neighboring countries with lower GDP and income levels, which still manage to maintain efficient telecom and utility services, suggesting that appropriate investment and pricing are key to achieving similar results in Nigeria.

The impending decision by the NCC will be closely watched by consumers and industry stakeholders, as it will significantly impact the future of telecom services across the country.

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor is a seasoned journalist and the CEO/Founder Belch Digital Communications, publishers of Hybrid News Nigeria.

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