The federal government on Tuesday, November 5 insisted the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) must work out modalities to reduce the price of data in the interest of Nigerians.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on Tuesday, directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to resolve the issues of illegal data deduction within five days.
According to a statement issued by the ministry’s spokesperson, Philomena Oshodin, he directed the communication agency to ensure the downward review of the price of data in the country.
He reportedly said this during the presentation of a new Board Member/Executive Commissioner, Adeleke Adewolu, in Abuja.
He told the management of the NCC led by its Board Chairman, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye that NCC to work out the modalities with other stakeholders that will lead to reduction in data cost in the next five working days.
The Minister said: ” I am urging the management of NCC to work towards reducing the price of data in Nigeria. It is too costly and people are complaining everyday.
“If you go to other countries, even countries that are not as largely populated as Nigeria, data prices are not this high. I am also a victim of some of the infractions that are so common in the industry. You load your data, but you barely used 20 percent of it and the entire data is wiped off.
“The last time I commented on the issues of illegal data deduction, this is one of the issues that worries me badly today. Eng Wakil making a presentation on behalf of EVC, he tried to defend the operators on one hand and the commission on the other, but I was not fully convinced with the explanation.
“Please go, sit down and review that issue. It is very important and I want to get your feed back with that report in the next five working days with the decision on it because the complaint from Nigerian is beyond what I can handle as it is today, people are complaining.
“It happened to me I recharged my data line and used it, and I believe that what I used was not up to 20 percent of what I purchased when it was wiped off, so that is an issue that is very important .
“I directed NCC to reduce the price of data downward as well it is very important, go and look at other African countries that do not have population like ours, even 20 percent of our population, go and see the price of data there.”
Also, Mr Pantami advised NCC to facilitate the penetration and expansion of 3G and 4G in the country. He urged the commission to design a model of how mobile operators can expand penetration of 3G and 4G in the country.
The Minister said the government is aware of the challenges the mobile operators experience in their business such as vandalism and issues of Right of Way (ROW).
“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,” he said.
“The main agenda of NCC is to protect the interest of customers and our priority is to protect Nigerians. It is our collective responsibility to make sure we give 100 per cent support to Mr President to deliver his key mandate,” he said
Mr Pantami said the mandate of the ministry has been expanded towards improving the economy of the country through ICT hence, so there is a need to work together for the progress of Nigeria.
He commended NCC on the success recorded in the deactivation of unregistered SIM cards, 35 per cent broadband penetration and operators compliance in payment of fines as well as remittance of the amount to the government.