Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, yesterday, absolved the Federal Government of complicity in the bid by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, to increase the price consumers pay on data services. The Minister distanced his ministry from the controversial data tariff increase, denying that it authorized it.
This came as the Senate also, yesterday, condemned in totality the planned tariff increment and asked network providers to immediately stop implementation of the new tariff billed to take effect today. Reacting, telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, announced immediate suspension of the new minimum pricing template for data services by mobile operators in the country, explaining that its decision was informed by the need to make more consultations.
Speaking yesterday, Adebayo maintained that the Federal Government never issued any directive to either the regulator, the NCC, or the telecommunications operators in the country authorizing increases in prices of data from today as claimed. Shittu Shittu insisted that he was never consulted before the announcement was made, stressing that the government did not authorize operators to raise tariffs.
He, however, assured Nigerians that the government would look into the matter and continue to protect their interests. “I can tell you that I was never a party to it (data tariff hike). Government never gave any such instruction. This government believes in democratic process and we would continue to protect the interest of Nigerians,” he said.