By Henry Omunu
House of Representatives says the increase in subscription by Multichoice/DSTV, is unacceptable, insists on Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO). Rep. Unyime Idem, Chairman, House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee investigating the non-implementation of PAYGO Tariff said this on Monday in Abuja, Daily Times gathered.
He said that given the current situation as occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic, Multichoice/DSTV should suspend the increase in the monthly subscription. Idem said that the house was of the opinion that MultiChoice, the owners of DSTV was not sensitive to the plight of Nigerians for increasing tariff of their various bouquets and anchoring that on VAT increment from five per cent to 7.5 per cent.
He added that most DSTV bouquet price tariff was more than 2.5 per cent increment, unlike many other companies, local and international that were providing palliative to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic. He said the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Acting Director-General of Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC), confirmed to the committee that PAYGO model was possible.
He added that it had started in Nigeria with other providers, adding that there was a new approved NBC agreed to by all stakeholders. The chairman said the committee was committed to the full implementation of the PAYGO, Pa- Per View-and-Pay-Per-Watch model in Nigeria. The Deputy Chairman of the committee, Rep. John Dyegh, said the House was in possession of document from the Minister of Information showing that the PAYG was possible.
According to him, we also have document from engineers showing that the PAYGO is possible. He said that anything contrary to that would be unacceptable by the committee, adding that the committee should not be pushed to a situation where it would impose the constitution.
He, however, moved a motion that the committee should invite the minister of information and other stakeholders with full knowledge of how PAYGO could be achieved. Rep. Adedeji Babjide, a member of the committee called for sincerity on the part of multi-choice, adding that Nigerians were currently going through a lot as a result of COVID-19
“Look at the hardship Nigerians are going through and you have done two increment within few months, this is not the right time for you to increase subscription,” he said.
He queried why Multi choice/DSTV was not patronising NICOMSAT, adding that Multi choice had not also obey the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (NBC) holistically. Mr John Ugbe, Managing Director, Multi choice/DSTV, said it would not be able to implement the policy of PAYG.
According to him, Pay Per View (PPV), is most times confused for PAYGO model deployed by mobile telecommunication companies.
“The PAYGO model as offered in the telecommunication business is a metered service where consumers are billed only for the service they consume and not for a fixed period.
“Telecommunications companies are able to offer PAYGO services because they operate a two-way communication system in which they are able to determine when a consumer is connected.
“The service consumed and duration of time the consumer is connected,” he said.
He, however, said that satellite broadcasters could not offer pay-tv services in the manner offered by mobile telecommunication operators. According to him, satellite broadcasting is linear, not a two-way system, as satellite broadcasters are unable to determine when a subscriber is connected and/or watching which channel is being viewed.